By Indrek Kongats

What was first thought to be a close competition between two teams with identical records and similar losses to the same Franklinville Lady Panthers, the Ellicottville Lady Eagles ripped apart the Lady Panthers from Pine Valley last week.

Marrissa Hamilton was in the zone in the first half, hardly missing from long range. Every attempt by the Lady Panthers to get the ball up the floor was stolen away, leading to easy baskets for Ellicottville, who took a 19-4 commanding lead after the first quarter of play and 40-14 by half time.

The second half was anti-climactic as the Lady Eagles coasted to an easy 57-27 victory.

The Ellicottville girls are 12-1 for the season and with only seven games left in the regular season, they are looking good for the playoffs.

This Friday night, Jan. 27, they take on the 2-10 Gowanda Panthers at home; tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.

In Varsity boys action, lead by Elliot Bowen’s double double, 17 points and 12 rebounds, Ellicottville dismantled the Forestville Hornets 63-46 on the road.

This Friday night, they stay on the road hoping to improve on their current 11-2 against Section 5 Class C Bolivar-Richburg HS. A win for the Eagles will give them six more sectional points, keeping them on the top of their Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Athletic Association Class D standings over Franklinville.

Mark your calendars for Feb. 6 as the Eagles next home game will be against the 2nd place Panthers from Franklinville; tip off is at 7:30 p.m.

In college NCAA Division I basketball, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team played at home this past Tuesday night against St. Joseph’s. It looked like currents for them at the end of the first half trailing St. Joe’s by 15 points, 27-42. The second half was a different story as St. Joseph went cold, hitting only one for 11 from the  three-point line. The game was really won from the free throw line, with the Bonnies connecting on 12 out of 14 shots, compared with only four for 10 for St. Joe. The final score was Bonaventure 67, St. Joseph 63.

The Lady Bonnies team has improved their record to 8-12 with back-to-back wins in their last two outings. Last Saturday night at home, St. Bonaventure women’s team defeated Duquesne 69-56 and improved their conference record to 3-5. Mckenna Maycock had a breakout game coming off the bench to lead all scorers with 14 points and adding five rebounds. Maycock shot an incredible 60 percent from the floor, 50 percent from the arc and 100 percent from the free throw line.

NCAA Division III action saw the Hilbert Hawks dropping both men and women’s contests last Saturday at home to Penn State Altoona. The men drop to fifth place with a 6-5 conference record, while the women are 5-6 fighting for a final playoff spot with only7 games remaining.

Player development tip of the week focuses on foot work. A good basketball player is light and quick on their feet. Muhammad Ali’s famous quote when asked about his strategy in the boxing ring was, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Nothing is truer and more to the point applying to all athletes. Heavy feet slow you down, so in order to be light and quick on your feet, you need to practice foot work drills.

The best foot work drill is the four square drill used by many athletes in all sports that require agility, coordination, balance and quickness in their foot work. The drill is simple and can be done anywhere. Draw two lines on the ground or use tape to make and “X” with 90 degree angles. Each quadrant is a square. Patterns can vary each time you do this drill, including using one foot or two feet at a time. Number the squares 1-4 clockwise.

Place both feet in No. 1 and hop back and forth to No. 4 directly behind you as fast as you can for up to 30 seconds. Next use No. 1 and No. 2 and do a lateral move again as fast as possible for 30 seconds. Continue with No. 1 and No. 3 and do the diagonal. You can create all sorts of variations including going around the box in one direction and reversing direction, facing different directions, using one foot or two feet at a time.

Once you get proficient with the drill, do it with a basketball in your hands, holding it in front and then above you. Dribble the ball or circle the ball around your body as you do your patterns. Be creative and do the drill consistently to develop the quickest feet in town.