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Albion holds on to edge Newfane

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 14 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Des Blackmon (21) goes in for a layup against Newfane defender Chad Gilson (15) during the Purple Eagles narrow win over the visiting Panthers this evening.

Up by as many as 18 midway through the third quarter, Albion survived a big scare down the stretch as the Purple Eagles held on to edge past visiting Newfane 62-59 this evening to improve to 3-1 in Niagara-Orleans League action.

The Purple Eagles in fact still led by 12, 55-43, midway through the final stanza but Newfane kept battling back.

A three by Zach LaJoie, a three-point play by Sam Watkins and two free throws by Chad Gilson pulled Newfane back to within four, 55-51, with 3:18 remaining.

Albion answered with a three by Bison and two free throws by Manny Thompson to open up a little breathing room at 60-53 with 1:58 to go.

Newfane though refused to fold. Capitalizing on turnovers, the Panthers used back-to-back layups by Watkins and Kyle Burdick to slice the deficit to just three at 60-57 with less than a minute remaining.

Albion countered with what proved to be a big layup by Blackmon with 12 seconds to go to make it 62-57.

However, the Panthers came back one last time. Albert Kramp scored on a layup with six seconds to go to cut the deficit to 62-59. The Panthers then got the ball right back off turnover but misfired on what would have been a game tying three at the buzzer.

Blackmon finished with a game high 23 points to lead the way for Albion as Bison tallied 9 and Tommy Mattison, Clayton Stanton and Thompson 7 each.

Watkins scored 13, Max Weber 12 and Gilson and Burdick 10 each for Newfane which slips to 1-3 in N-O action.

Albion got off to a fast start leading 9-0 at the outset and 11-4 after one period.

Albion’s Tommy Mattison (1) tries to shoot over Newfane’s Josh Wilt (35).

The Purple Eagles then hit five threes in the second quarter, including two by Blackmon and one each by Loyd, Bison and Thompson, to open up what looked to be a commanding 18 point, 34-16, advantage at the half.

A 10 point burst by Blackmon, including a rebound bucket, a jumper and back-to-back threes, kept the Purple Eagles up by 18, 46-28, midway through the third quarter.

However, Newfane put together a 9-1 run to close the period cutting the deficit to 10 at 47-37, at the three-quarter mark igniting the Panthers comeback. Back-to-back buckets by Gilson capped off that rally.

Keeping the momentum, the Panthers opened the decisive fourth quarter with s 14-8 run to slice the deficit to just four at 55-51, setting the stage for a exciting finish. A layup off a turnover and a three-point play by Watkins and a three by LaJoie highlighted that uprising.

Albion though survived the challenge as a three by Bison, two free throws by Thompson and a layup by Blackmon helped the Purple Eagles claim the narrow win.

Albion next visits rival Medina at 6:30 p.m. Friday in a key matchup of 3-1 N-O teams.

Albion’s Manny Thompson (14) drives by Newfane’s Josh Wilt (35).