Albion cagers best top seeded Burgard to advance to Class B1 title contest
Ending a 33 year drought, No. 4 seed Albion bested top seeded Burgard 62-54 this evening at Buffalo State College to earn a berth in Saturday’s Section VI Class B1 championship game.
Clayton Stanton and Des Blackmon each scored 16 points to spearhead the attack in the semi for Albion which not only avenged a season opening non league 54-42 loss to Burgard but also advanced to the sectional finals for the first time since 1982.
Austin Loyd added 9, Tommy Mattison 8, Manny Thompson 7 and Alex Bison 6 for the Purple Eagles which will face Maryvale, a 46-43 victor over No. 3 Medina in the other semi, in the championship game at 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Buffalo State.
“Our motto is ‘don’t let it end'”, said Albion Coach Brennan Meakin. “It’s been 33 years since Albion has made the finals and these kids have really been working so hard. They don’t want it to end.”
Albion jumped out to a 10 point, 19-9, lead at the end of the first period as Loyd and Blackmon both hit a pair of threes and Stanton added a three-point play and a layup off a turnover to spark the Purple Eagles in the early going.
Bugard pulled back to within four, 19-15, early in the second period after a burst of three straight layups.
Albion though answered right back with a 9-0 run including a three-point play by Bison, and a layup and a three by Mattison to regain an eight point, 28-20 lead. The Purple Eagles maintained an eight point ,33-25, advantage at the half.
Two free throws by Loyd and a layup by Stanton boosted the Albion advantage to 10, 37-27, early in the third period before Burgard put together its biggest surge of the night.
The Bulldogs put together a big 15-0 scoring burst, highlighted by threes by Marquel Brinson and Zion Hall, to rally into a 42-37 lead.
Albion though cut the deficit back to two 42-40, at the three-quarter mark on a late three by Bison.
Keeping the momentum, the Purple Eagles then regained the lead for good at 48-42 by opening the decisive final period with an 8-0 run including a rebound bucket by Stanton, a three by Blackmon and a layup by Thompson.
The Purple Eagles boosted the advantage to nine, 54-45, with 3:15 remaining after back-to-back layups by Stanton and Thompson and a rebound bucket by Stanton.
Burgard did close back to within four twice in the final three minutes, first at 54-50 and again at 58-54, but could get no closer.
Blackmon helped to put a lock on the Purple Eagles victory with two layups and three free throws over the final 1:40 capping a 22-12 Albion scoring advantage over the final period.
“We took their best wave in the third quarter well and answered with one of our own,” said Meakin. “Defense though was the big key for us. We know we can score but our defense had to shut them down and then did a good job of doing that.”
Ironically the last time Albion advanced to the finals, in 1982, the Purple Eagles lost to another City of Buffalo team, Grover Cleveland, 51-35 for the Class B2 title.