By Indrek Kongats

The white and maroon jerseys of the Lady Eagles dominated the paint at both ends of the court, frustrating the scarlet Cardinals from Randolph. Marrissa Hamilton led the Lady Eagles blocking shots, grabbing rebounds and even hitting severalthree pointers in their 52 -37 win this past Monday night on their home court.

Randolph fell behind right from the start, with only one bucket in the first eight minutes of play and at the end of the quarter was down 9-2.

The second quarter, both teams played even as Randolph got over the jitters and began hitting their shots too close out the half, no further behind at 24-17. Neither team warmed up at half time, and Randolph’s half time talk almost made them late for the start of the third quarter.

Before the Cardinals knew what hit them, they were down 17 points and once again chasing the Eagles down the court trying to catch up. The closest they managed to get was within five points in the fourth, but ran out of juice, losing by 15 points.

The win left Ellicottville still undefeated, increasing their record to 5-0. Their final game before the holiday break was this past Thursday night at home against Port/Allegany.

The JV Lady Eagles keep improving and are closing the gap with their opponents, edging toward their first victory. The JV squad played well in their game against Randolph, losing by only six points, 23-29 at the final buzzer.

The boys Varsity squad played this past Wednesday against Portville, whom they handily defeated earlier on in the season 66-55. Elliot Bowen had a double double 16/12 with an additional five blocks and five steals in that first meeting.

During the holiday break, the Eagles will be playing in a tournament at Jamestown Community College against Sherman on Dec. 29 at 5 p.m., and then again on Dec. 30 against Addison with a 12 p.m. tip off time.

College Hoops

In Division I NCAA college hoops, St. Bonaventure University men’s basketball team has increased their record to 8-3 with an exciting home win Monday night against the Army of West Point, 92-83. The Bonnies finally pulled away in the second half after a first half stalemate, 43-43. Junior guard Jaylen Adams led the way with 31 points and 10 assists.

The women’s team is 5-6 for the season after defeating the Great Danes of Albany, 67-59. First year coach Jesse Fleming is still playing Randolph High School star Mckenna Maycock off the bench, but she managed 13 points in 31 minutes of playing time in the victory. The Lady Bonnies traveled to UB on Dec. 21 hoping to get back to .500 for the season. Their next home game will be Dec. 28 with a 4 p.m. tip off against Rhode Island.

In Division III action, Hilbert Hawks men’s basketball team traveled to Ohio to play Franciscan University for a road victory that puts them 3-3 in conference play, and 6-5 overall. In the 81-69 win, local Section VI star from Panama High School, Josh Eddy, contributed four points and six rebounds in 19 minutes, his second game back since coming off an ankle injury dating back to Nov. 26 against Alfred University.

Shannon Rogers, another Section VI standout from Pioneer High School, leads the Lady Hawks in rebounding, with 8.9 per game and third in scoring with 10.7. The Hilbert College women’s team is also 3-3 in AMCC conference play, but 5-6 overall on the season. Both men’s and women’s teams are off for the holidays and will resume action at home on Jan. 7, 2017 against University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg; game times are 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., with the women leading the way.

Player development tip of the week: As a basketball player, nothing beats hustle, and games are won not on talent alone, but on the determination of the individual players on the team. There are two simple rules that the individual needs to follow if they want to be invaluable to their team and to see maximum minutes on the floor during a game.

Rule number one: Get ahead of the play. On offense trailing a play will not get you a transition basket, but sprinting ahead of the play will more often than not get the ball into your hands for an easy bucket. Even more important than sprinting on offense is getting back ahead of the play on defense. Remember, it is the ball that scores a point, by going through the hoop, not the player. If the player that you are guarding is trailing the play, then stopping the ball becomes your number one priority; hustle back on defense, ahead of the play, and help stop the ball from going into the basket!

Rule number two: Head man the ball. After a defensive rebound, the outlet person, usually a guard, must be up the floor and not behind the rebounder. Driving the ball up the floor in transition means passing the ball ahead to whoever is sprinting up the floor. Gaining momentum is the greatest game changer and scoring easy baskets on fast breaks creates momentum. Head manning the ball is the secret to a good fast break so keep your head up, limit your dribble and pass the ball up to players hustling ahead of you.