By Jay Young
BUFFALO - The Randolph boys basketball team was eliminated from last year's postseason after falling just one point short in a controversial meeting with Middle Early College. On Tuesday night the Cardinals got their long-awaited shot at revenge in the Section 6 Class C championship game at Buffalo State.
Randolph’s Bryce Morrison (23) splits the defense of Middle Early College’s Tarron Scott (1) and Kevin Briggs during Tuesday’s Section 6 Class C championship game at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jay Young
Randolph’s Taylor Miller drives to the basket. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jay Young
After besting local rival Maple Grove in the Class C-2 final, 50-44, last week at Jamestown Community College, Coach Kevin Hind's team punched their ticket to play for the overall Class C title against the same Kats team that had snuck past them last year thanks to a few hotly disputed foul calls.
"Mitchell (Maycock) texted me last night (and said), I've been waiting a over a year to have this chance and just to have the chance to go out and play them again," Hind said.
For the first eight minutes of the emotional rematch it looked like the Cardinals (15-7) would have a good shot at recouping their previous loss to Middle Early College (17-5), but after coming out cold the Kats caught fire from beyond the arc in the second half and held off their old foe in the final minutes for a 50-47 victory.
A pair of deep treys from Jojo Staton put Middle Early College in front, 26-25, and then a physical three-point play from Brian Brown extended the Kats lead that would not be challenged until the final minute of the fourth quarter.
"We battled,'' Hind said. ''Holy cow, we couldn't have played any harder. We fought tooth-and-nail every single possession and offensively we just didn't get it done."
The outstanding effort from the Cardinals is what helped them jump out to an early lead against a very athletic opponent that has proven to be one of the best Class C teams in Western New York over the past several seasons.
"Obviously this team that we just played has been one of the top teams in the state for three or four out of the last six years and we were hoping to be able to win C-2 to be able to get to this game and have this chance," Hind said.
After achieving that goal, Randolph laid it all out on the line in a physical matchup with the Kats that was full of bumps, hard fouls, blocks, clutch shots and excitement.
Bryce Morrison was the offensive pulse for Randolph throughout the night.
The junior guard gave the Cardinals an early lead with a big first quarter when he scored 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Accuracy from long range helped Randolph get up to tempo in the early going with Mason Bosley and Taylor Miller also pumping in treys to put Middle Early College in a hole at 14-5. Bosley then helped add another two points as he found Maycock cutting to the basket for an easy layup.
See CARDINALS, Page B2
From Page B1
The Kats could not get any shots to fall in the opening period, with Tarron Scott notching nearly all of their points at the foul line. Staton was finally able to convert on an open look from beyond the arc. Another missed opportunity from deep saw the Kats in a 18-7 hole after one quarter, but Kevin Briggs was able to snap the cold streak heading into the second period.
Just seconds after the whistle to begin the period, Briggs buried a trey and then hit another bucket from deep on the following possession, while Randolph started to bog down in their own offensive end.
After having plenty off success against the zone in the the first quarter, the Cardinals struggled against the Kats' man-to-man.
"They went man,'' Hind said, ''and that was our goal coming in. We figured we could get them out of their 2-3 and we did. We said pregame and yesterday that if we get them out of their 2-3 zone we've done something, and we did. We hit some shots and the game got physical, they're strong, and we didn't handle that real well in the third quarter. We didn't take care of the ball, we didn't attack.
With the Kats' offense starting to catch fire heading into halftime, Maycock did his best to keep his team up with a nice feed to Morrison and a 3 that maintained a 25-19 margin. Middle Early College was able to pick up one more basket before the start of the third quarter but it was their new-found momentum that was the real game changer.
Down by four points after two quarters, the Kats begin to find the range after halftime as Staton drilled a trey to begin the third, which was responded to by another trey from Maycock.
The action really started to ramp up following the early buckets as Staton drove right back down the court and fired home another deep bucket. He would go on to post 13 points on four 3's.
With the Kats beginning to catch fire, Randolph went back to its inside game with Cody Oldro adding two points on a post move and Morrison chipping in another deuce from an inbounds pass.
Brian Brown then converted on a three-point play on a left-handed finish to give the Kats their first lead, 32-30, and then hit an inside jumper, but it was Briggs who hit the momentum-changing shot with a corner 3 at the buzzer. The jumper was heart-breaking for Randolph, which had played its heart out for 24 minutes and at one point led by 11.
There was a moment of optimism for the Cardinals as key defender Brandon Jefferson earned his fifth foul and was done with five minutes still left to play and the Kats holding a 42-34 lead.
Despite foul trouble and struggles at the foul line down the stretch, Middle Early College held on as the Cardinals were unable to hit from beyond the arc.
Morrison led Randolph with 20 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Mason Bosley had seven points and seven rebounds.
Scott led the Kats with 13 points, while Briggs finished with 12.
Maycock 3 0 8, Miller 2 0 6, Bosley 1 4 7, Morrison 5 8 20, Oldro 2 2 6, Brown 0 0 0, McAllister 0 0 0. Totals 13 14 47.
MIDDLE EARLY COLLEGE (50)
Scott 4 5 13, Briggs 4 1 12, Staton 4 1 13, Brown 4 3 11, Mingo 0 1 1 Singleton 0 0 0, Burks 0 0 0. Totals 16 11 50.
3-point goals: Briggs 3, Staton 4, Maycock 3 0 8, Miller 2, Bosley, Morrison 2.
Randolph 18 7 7 15-47
Middle Early College 7 14 16 13-50