Late Wildcats surge ousts Purple Eagles

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 29 February 2020 at 4:58 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Kevin Hillman puts up a shot over Depew defender Max Snuszka during the Purple Eagles sectional loss to the host Wildcats this afternoon.

A late turnover aided scoring burst earned No. 3 seed Depew a narrow 52-48 win over visiting No. 6 Albion this afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Section VI Class B1 boys basketball playoffs.

Trailing 46-44 with less than a minute and a half to go, Depew used a decisive 8-0 run to claim the win and a berth in the B1 semifinals

A jumper by Davion March pulled Depew even at 46-46 with 1:20 remaining and Max Snuszka followed up with a huge three to put the Wildcats back on top to stay at 49-46 with 47 seconds to go.

A rash of three costly turnovers over the final 45 seconds then proved fatal to Albion’s comeback bid.

Depew took advantage of those turnovers to up the lead to 52-46 with just 10 seconds remaining after two free throws by March and one by Christian Pagano.

Albion’s Deyonci Farley goes high to block a Depew shot as Bailey Blanchard moves in to support.

March finished with 18 and Pagano 13 to lead the Wildcats.

Kevin Hillman shared game high honors with 18 and Deyonci Farley had 16 to pace the Purple Eagles as Liam Ward added 5, Chris Shabazz 4, Anthony Freeman 3 and Bailey Blanchard 2.

Sparked by an effective, aggressive defense, Albion jumped out to a 12-2 lead at the outset  on threes by Ward and Freeman, layups by Hillman and Farley and a jumper by Ward.

However, Depew answered right back with an 11-0 run to close the period highlighted by consecutive threes by Nathan Kulesz, Pagano and Snuszka to rally into a 13-12 lead.

Albion moved back out to a seven point, 22-15, lead midway through the second period as back-to-back threes by Farley highlighted a 10-0 run.

Late layups by Hillman, off a turnover, and Farley helped keep the Purple Eagles up by six, 26-20, at the half.

Depew pulled even twice in the third period, at 26-26 and 35-35, but Albion regained a 38-35 lead at the three-quarter mark on a late three by Hillman, his second of the period.

A jumper by Hillman and a layup by Shabazz upped the Purple Eagles lead by to seven, 42-35, at the outset of the final period but again Depew came rallying back.

The Wildcats put together a 9-2 run highlighted by a three and a layup off a steal by March, to pull even at 44-44 with 3:05 remaining.

Farley answered with a rebound basket to give Albion what proved to be its last lead at 46-44 with 2:20 to go but the Purple Eagles could not score again until Hillman tallied on a layup with just 1.2 seconds remaining.

In between Depew used the big turnover aided 8-0 run, including four by March and three by Pagano, to rally for the win.

Albion finishes the season at 16-6.

Click here for highlights from the game.