By Sam Wilson
Griffin Chudy couldn’t finish the game off with two free throws, so he took it upon himself to make an improbable play, and earn two more.
Trailing 58-57, the Ellicottville senior got to the foul line off an inbounds play with five seconds left against archrival Franklinville just as the shot clock expired and 1.8 seconds left in game time. Chudy made the first, and coach Dave McCann called off his offensive rebounders, looking to avoid a foul in the bonus off a potential miss. Miss he did, but Chudy hustled to his own rebound, got another foul call just as as time expired, officials ruled.
Chudy actually had four chances to ice the game after officials called a technical on Franklinville coach Jeff Haskell for arguing. He didn’t need it, sinking the first shot to end a 59-58 CCAA East II victory, avenging a 75-41 loss at Franklinville and putting a co-division championship in play.
“They’re a very good team and it’s a rivalry game for us,” McCann said. “We weren’t happy with how we played over at their place. I think the guys had a lot to come out and prove tonight. The last couple of weeks, since that loss, their focus has been different. I think part of it was looking forward to this game, so it meant a lot for them to get this one tonight at home.”
Chudy (seven rebounds, three steals) and classmate Elliot Bowen scored 16 points each. Bowen, who set the school’s boys basketball career scoring record two weeks ago, pulled down 10 rebounds to put him at exactly 1,000 for his career.
Isaac Kopp scored 17 points (13 in the second half) to lead Franklinville (12-3), while Sam Erickson had 15 and Darren Clark had 10.
Austin Grinols chipped in seven points and six boards for the victors. Steven Rowland added 10 points and six rebounds for the Eagles (14-1), one of which helped spark their game-winning sequence. Rowland pulled down an offensive board with 5.4 seconds to play and drew a jump ball, with the possession arrow in Ellicottville’s favor.
“Just will,” McCann said of Rowland and Chudy’s two offensive rebounds in the final seconds. “They wanted the ball in that situation and they went and took it, and I’m proud of them. Again it’s an effort play. Rebounding is a lot of effort and it’s a mental thing. I think tonight they got that. Steven’s really come a long way in developing that edge to be a good rebounder.”
Cooled off after the game, Haskell didn’t dispute the calls that ended the game.
“We fouled him on the first one and they said there was time left,” Haskell said. “I trust them (on that). The second one, that was our own (mistake), we didn’t box out. I’d have to see the film to see how he got there so quick and so easy, but that was our fault.”
Franklinville got off a slow start, trailing 12-2 in the first quarter and 29-16 in the second, but got within seven at halftime on a buzzer-beater from Kaleb Watts. The Panthers then took a 10-3 run to start the second half, tying it 35-35 and neither team led by more than four again.
“As bad as we played, I was elated it was only seven,” Haskell said. “We played a horrible half and to be down seven, we played OK defense holding them to what we did. Our feet weren’t ready for some reason. We were slow to start.”
Franklinville got up to speed in the second half, but ended just a few plays short.
“We played our game and I think we knew if we played our game we’d be fine and we did for a while,” Haskell said, “but they got a lot of loose balls we didn’t get. We’ve got a better job of that. Even the jump ball rebound, that should have been our rebound.
“Our guys played hard, it wasn’t for a lack of effort, but that’s stuff’s going to happen.”
Haskell didn’t sound worried about his team’s confidence after the last-second loss, which snapped a seven-game win streak.
“Oh, they’re fine,” he said. “They feel pretty good about themselves.”
Splitting the season series and tied at 6-1 in East II play, Franklinville and Ellicottville would again share the division if both win out.
The Eagles had three weeks to stew on their loss at Franklinville and went 5-0 in that period. McCann said their improvements started “the day after that game” and the team called up a freshman, Clayton Rowland, to join its rotation.
“We had to be a little bit deeper and a little bit stronger,” McCann said. “We watched film of the first quarter where we really just got outworked in the first game and it was not a pleasant day of practice after that game. It kind of served to refocus the kids and I give them all the credit in the world. My senior captains weren’t going to let that happen again.”
Depending on Section 6 Class D seeding, a rubber match could come in March.
“It’s very possible we could run into them again,” McCann said. “The Class D is brutal this year. Buffalo East is a really good team, Franklinville is a really good team, but like I just told these guys in the locker room, I really think we can play with anyone at any level. Tonight proved that to them.”
Haskell 2 0-0 6, Blecha 2 3-3 7, Erickson 5 4-7 15, Watts 1 0-0 3, Kopp 4 6-6 17, Clark 5 0-0 10. Totals: 19 13-16 58.
Leiper 0 1-2 1, Stuve 1 2-2 4, S. Rowland 4 0-0 10, Chudy 4 8-9 16, Grinols 3 0-0 7, C. Rowland 1 2-2 5, Bowen 5 6-7 16. Totals: 18 19-22 59.
Franklinville 9 25 40 58
Ellicottville 12 32 41 59
Three-point goals: F’ville 7 (Haskell 2, Erickson, Watts, Kopp 3), E’ville 4 (S. Rowland 2, Grinols, Bowen). Total fouls: F’ville 20, E’ville 17. Fouled out: Clark (F).
JV: Ellicottville, 60-36.
Ellicottville 60, Forestville 42
ELLICOTTVILLE — Led by reigning Big 30 First Team selection Elliot Bowen, the Ellicottville boys won their fifth straight last Friday, Jan. 26,
Bowen recorded 25 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks to power the Eagles to a 60-42 triumph over Forestville in a CCAA East II matchup.
Griffin Chudy contributed 16 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists for coach Dave McCann’s team, which swept the regular season series with Forestville. Lewis Markham scored 13 points and corralled nine boards for the Hornets (7-8). Macadam Gadewoltz brought in 10 rebounds to go along with his eight points.