AVON — There was much discussion who the LCAA’s top all-around basketball player was heading into Friday night’s Cal-Mum at Avon divisional showdown between the area’s top two teams.
That discussion is over.
Avon senior guard Connor Taylor can flat out ball.
And Cal-Mum head coach Dan Dickens had a front row seat Friday night during the Braves’ 61-42 drubbing over his Red Raiders in LCAA D-II action in front of a packed house in Avon.
Taylor came close to his sixth triple-double of the season as he finished with a game high 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Taylor scored 21 of his points in the first half as the Braves built a huge lead.
Throughout the first half of the Braves’ match up with the Red Raiders, Taylor was absolutely on fire, knocking down shots from all over the floor and finishing the first two quarters with 21 points.
The Braves’ victory was largely due to their senior leader’s great effort during the first 16:00 of play.
“They were giving me space so I just kept pulling it,” said Taylor about his ability to flourish during the first two quarters.
Cal-Mum elected to come out in a 2-3 zone defensively, likely due to the great size which the Braves possess, and Taylor simply picked it apart. It seemed as if he knocked down every open shot that the Raiders gave him, making for a tough two quarters for the road team.
On the other side of the coin, Cal-Mum struggled to maintain an offensive rhythm throughout this game, and aside from a nice first half from senior Eric Wilson, they didn’t get any production during the first, and second quarter. Wilson finished with 10 points for the game, all of which came during the first half, which was another issue for the Raiders in this one.
During the second half, because the Braves’ completely shut out Wilson, the Raiders offensive struggles continued, as they were once again limited to one primary contributor. This time it was junior Vin Molisani as the lone Raider who was able to find room for his team, scoring 11 points during the final two quarters, and finishing with 13 for the game.
Outside of Wilson, and Molisani, six other players scored points for Cal-Mum, but none of them recorded more than five.
“Cal-Mum is a tough team, and we knew we had to do a lot of things well, and we did,” said Avon head coach Rob Fries after the game. “We rebounded, and we played smart. I’m real proud of (the guys), they played great.”
Along with the great effort from Taylor, Braves’ freshman Zach Colvin came through with the biggest performance of his career, scoring 10 points which were spread between the second and third quarters which was when Avon seized control of the game.
“It’s amazing” said Colvin when I asked him how nice it is to know that his team has other options, outside of Taylor. He was also proud of his ability to work hard inside. “My goal was to come out and get rebounds (tonight).”
Colvin finished with seven rebounds.
This game started back and forth until the 1:15 mark of the first quarter, when Avon took an 8-7 lead on a lay up from Taylor – a lead they would never relinquish. The Braves closed the first half on a 7-0 run in order to take a 13-7 lead into the second quarter.
A lay up from junior Nick Rowland, who finished with 6 points on the night, opened the second quarter for Avon, but Cal-Mum hung around and a three-ball from Wilson brought them within two with 4:14 to go in the frame. After the three from Wilson, Avon would forge a 14-2 run to close the quarter, behind three buckets a piece from Taylor, and Colvin, and took a commanding 34-20 lead into the halftime break.
The story remained the same during the second half, as the Braves maintained their double-digit advantage over the Raiders, and at one point built their lead all the way up to 20. Avon eventually walked away with the 19-point victory.
“It’s a great group to work with,” coach Fries continued to say about his team. “I’m really enjoying just – I don’t want to see the season go by. I don’t want to lose our seniors, and I’m just trying to enjoy it one at a time.”
Fries also mentioned that his team has some lofty aspirations this season.
“We always set as a goal win the division first, then win sectionals,” said coach Fries. “We have some improving to do, but we’re getting there.”
With the win Avon is now 10-1 and has Perry coming up next on their schedule. With the loss Cal-Mum falls to 11-1, and has Pavilion up next.
PEMBROKE 62, NOTRE DAME 60
Jordan Ludwig hit three 3-pointers and led four Dragons in double figures with 19 points to go with six rebounds and Pembroke used a big run to close the third and start the fourth before it eventually had to hold off a late Fighting Irish rally.
Up just one late in the third, a Nick Perry putback run started Pembroke on an 8-0 run in the final 1:20 of the frame and Jarrod Ludwig started the fourth with a triple 50 seconds in as the Dragons broke out to a 48-36 lead.
A quick 7-0 Irish spurt midway through the final quarter had the Dragons’ lead down to 53-48 after a Gabe Macdonald steal and layup with 3:20 left to play. The lead would get back out seven with 1:40 left after a Jordon Ludwig drive made it 60-53 before Notre Dame tried to chip away.
Two free throws each from Zach Cocking and Lucas Colarco with under 25 seconds left to play cut the Pembroke lead to 60-57 with 19.8 left to play but Jarrod Ludwig hit two big free throws with 18.6 left before Colarco hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to close it to two but it was too little, too late.
Patrick Wolford and Noah Godzala each finished with 12 points in the win for Pembroke (4-6), with Wolford adding seven rebounds and four assists and Godzala grabbing seven boards.
Jarrod Ludwig finished with 11 points and six rebounds for the Dragons, who connected on nine 3-pointers on the night.
Gabe Macdonald just missed another triple-double for Notre Dame (4-7) as he finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, while Spencer Misiti added 13 points — none in the fourth quarter — with three assists.
In a first quarter that saw neither team lead by more than two, Notre Dame grabbed an 11-9 lead heading into the second quarter on an Andrew Moore jumper with under a minute to play in the frame.
The second quarter would go back-and-forth the entire eight minutes as the teams traded leads eight times. Pembroke’s biggest lead of the quarter came at 22-18 with four minutes left in the half after a Jordon Ludwig 3-pointer and a drive to hoop from Wolford.
A Misiti 3-pointer then started the Fighting Irish on a 7-0 spurt as they went up 25-22 but Pembroke would hold them scoreless for the final 2:15 of the half and another Jordon Ludwig triple with just over a minute left in the frame gave the Dragons a 27-25 heading into the break.
Pembroke scored the first five points of the third quarter and wouldn’t trail the rest of the way.
Moore added eight points and nine rebounds for Notre Dame, while Colarco scored eight points, all in the final 2:10 of the game.
BATAVIA 60, GREECE OLYMPIA 50
Mason McFollins and Andrew Francis each scored seven points in the fourth quarter as the Blue Devils outscored the Spartans 22-10 to rally for the road win.
Down 26-21 at halftime, Batavia came to life in the second half, scoring 39 points, including hitting seven 3-pointers after the break. McFollins scored nine of his points in the third quarter and hit six triples on the night to finish with a game-high 24 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Francis just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 assists, while Camden White finished with 12 points and six rebounds in the win.
Caeden White and Luke Grammatico each finished with six points and Jake Humes pulled down six boards as Batavia moved to 4-6.
Jeff Jung Jr. led Olympia (5-5) with 23 points, while Collin James chipped in with 13 in the losing effort.
YORK 71, PAVILION 67
Riley Stella scored a team-high 21 points and Matt McFarland added 19 for the Golden Knights, who outscored the Golden Gophers 21-14 in the fourth quarter to pull out the win.
Pavilion had erased a 41-36 deficit at halftime with a 16-9 third.
David Cuozzo chipped in with 11 points in the win for York (5-0, 9-4).
Colby Tillotson led all scorers with 24 points for Pavilion (0-5, 5-8), while Cameron Milligan added 18 and Ryley Elliott netted 13.
WARSAW 52, DANSVILLE 44
Mike James had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds and Dmitri Steele added 14 points as the Tigers pulled away for the win after being down 13-10 following the first quarter.
Tom Standera chipped in with 11 points in the win.
Arik Gerber led the Mustangs with 14 points, while Ben Caruso had 10 and Jake Failla had six.
LE ROY 44, LETCHWORTH 29
Ethan Smith scored 10 of his team-high 12 points in the second half and the Oatkan Knights’ press produced a 14-5 third quarter after they led by just one at the break en route to the win.
Reece Tresco finished with nine points and 10 rebounds and Bob Locke added seven points and nine boards as Le Roy improved to 7-4.
A Will Bean 3-pointer had Letchworth within seven early in the fourth but the Knights would quickly get the lead back out to double figures.
Bean finished with 18 points for Letchworth (0-10).
The “fork” ratings are based primarily on food quality and preparation, with service and atmosphere factored into the final decision. Reviews are based on one unsolicited, unannounced visit to the restaurant.