BUFFALO - His name announced by the public-address announcer, Quinn Lee Yaw made his way to midcourt at the Buffalo State Sports Arena on Saturday night to accept his Section 6 championship patch and T-shirt from a sectional official. But before the man could hand the Jamestown senior his awards, Lee Yaw gave him a chest bump, a handshake and an ear-to-ear grin.
Lee Yaw had plenty to smile about.
Playing arguably the best game of his career on Western New York's biggest stage, the 6-foot-5 forward poured in 26 points (on 12-of-17 shooting), grabbed 15 rebounds and had three assists as the top-seeded and defending champion Red Raiders breezed to their fourth sectional title in five years following a 60-40 victory.
Quinn Lee Yaw drives downcourt against Clarence during Saturday night’s Section 6 Class AA championship game. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
The win moves Jamestown (17-4) into the Far West Regional at 8:15 p.m., next Saturday, back at Buffalo State.
Section 5 champion Greece Athena, the team that defeated the Red Raiders in their season opener 2 months ago. The Trojans defeated Fairport, 72-60, last night, setting the stage for a rematch.
''I can't wait,'' Jamestown coach Ben Drake said. ''We're one game away from the promised land. ... We've come so far since that first game of the year. It would really be complete to come back and beat the team who beat us on our home court the first game of the year (and) go to Glens Falls (site of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association final four).''
The Red Raiders sure are a different team than the one that Drake put on the court in December.
Clarence found that out the hard way last night.
Behind lock-down defense, the special talents of Lee Yaw and Zack Panebianco (18 points and four steals) and the continued emergence of their role players, the Red Raiders never trailed.
And despite splitting their two regular-season meetings with the Red Devils, the Red Raiders showed their superiority from the opening tip and did so by featuring the versatility and athleticism of Lee Yaw. In fact, in the first quarter, he poured in 11 points, scoring on layups, a dunk and a 3-pointer to give Jamestown a 16-12 advantage.
That was as close as Clarence would get.
''I can't say enough about our execution tonight at both ends of the floor,'' Drake said. ''We had a game plan coming in and I talked before the game about executing it and the kids did a really great job of that. We wanted to get the ball to Quinn early in the game and throughout the game. ... (Clarence) had a very difficult time guarding him around the basket.''
The Red Raiders outscored the Red Devils, 15-4, in the second quarter and did so by continuing to drive to the basket or pounding it inside to Lee Yaw. When Lee Yaw scored from the low block with two minutes remaining before halftime, Clarence coach Todd Banaszak was beside himself.
''How does he get the ball?'' he yelled to his players from the bench. ''How does he get the ball?''
Clarence had no answer.
''I knew my team was going to need a boost,'' Lee Yaw said. ''I made sure I came out hard and did everything possible to make sure we won.''
Leading 31-16 at halftime and 47-32 after three quarters, the outcome was never in doubt after intermission. In fact, the arena began emptying out midway through the fourth quarter with the game all but decided.
In addition to the dominant play of Lee Yaw and another stellar game from Panebianco, Drake also was pleased with the performance of 5-6 sophomore guard Zacc Kinsey, whose job was to defend Clarence's 6-5 star Ryan Funk, who finished with only five points. Kinsey finished with three points, seven rebounds and three assists, while juniors Stephen Carlson and Ben Larson added seven points and six boards respectively.
''Zacc Kinsey did a great job on Funk and we played great team defense away from the ball, especially on the boards,'' Drake said. ''They didn't get many offensive rebounds at all. They were one and done all night.''
As for the Red Raiders, they'll continue to move on, thanks to their 12th sectional title in school history and their fifth in Drake's 16 years at the helm.
''It never gets tiring to play Saturday nights in March at Buffalo State,'' Drake said. ''It's awesome and it's a culmination of a lot of hard work by all these guys.''
Stevens 1 0 3, Case 3 0 8, Williams 0 1 1, Jost 3 0 9, Harof 3 0 6, Lauricella 1 0 2, Funk 2 0 5, Weedon 3 0 6, Totals 16 1 40.
Castro 0 0 0, Kinsey 1 0 3, Colwell 1 0 2, Park 0 0 0, Nazzaro 0 0 0, Panebianco 8 1 18 Haberberger 0 0 0, Larson 2 0 4, Hoaglund 0 0 0, Carlson 2 3 7, Lee Yaw 12 1 26, Totals 26 5 60.
3-point goals-Case 2, Stevens, Jost 2, Funk, Kinsey, Panebianco, Lee Yaw.
Clarence12 4 16 8 - 40
Jamestown16 15 16 13 - 60