East tops Albion in state qualifier
Ignited by a quick, ball hawking defense, East High of Buffalo roared out to a turnover aided 10-0 lead at the outset and went on to defeat Albion 72-54 this evening in the Section VI Class B state qualifier game at Buffalo State College.
Taking full advantage of seven first quarter Albion turnovers, East boosted its advantage to 15, 25-10, at the end of the decisive period. Damone Brown scored 9 of his 11, Dion Morrison 7 of his 10 and Jovell Littlejohn 4 of his 10 to lead the balanced attack for East in the quarter.
“We just didn’t play our game,” said Albion Coach Brennan Meakin. “We took too many poor shots and had too many turnovers.”
The teams traded scores throughout the second period which ended with East maintaining a 15 point, 39-24, advantage at the half.
Des Blackmon, Alex Bison and Kory Reynolds made a pair of baskets for Albion during that stretch while Percy Bryant scored 7 of his 16 for East.
Dominating on the boards, East ballooned the lead to as much as 21, 51-30, late in the third period as it was one shot and done for Albion for most of the quarter.
However, the Purple Eagles did come battling back putting together a 9-0 run on a layup and jumper by Manny Thompson, a layup by Reynolds and a three by Austin Loyd to cut the deficit a bit to 14, 53-39, at the three-quarter mark.
Albion did pull to within 12, 54-42, at the outset of the final period after another three by Loyd but could get no closer as the Purple Eagles misfired on their next 11 shots.
East quickly boosted the advantage back to 19, 61-42, after a three by Morrison and two free throws and a rebound basket by Bryant to pull away for good.
The Panthers extended the lead to as much as 24, 72-48, late before Blackmon hit a pair of threes for the Purple Eagles to close the scoring.
Blackmon finished with 16 for the Purple Eagles as Thompson, Stanton and Reynolds each had 8, Loyd 6, Bison 5 and Tommy Mattison 3.
Albion had advanced to the state qualifier by defeating Maryvale 65-57 on Saturday to capture the Class B1 title, the Purple Eagles first sectional championship since 1972.
East captured its third straight B2 title on Saturday by downing Fredonia 54-51 to gain a berth in the state qualifier.
East now advances to the Far West Regional on Saturday against the Section V Class B champion (either Leadership Academy of Rochester or Wellsville).