Purple Eagles hold off Raiders rally

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 6 January 2023 at 9:08 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Nick Harling and Barker’s Aidan Voss battle for the ball during the Purple Eagles narrow win over the visiting Raiders this evening.

Surviving a fourth quarter scoring drought, Albion nipped visiting Barker 56-54 in a Niagara-Orleans League boys basketball game this evening.

Albion held a 12 point, 48-36, lead at the end of the third quarter but saw Barker come battling down the stretch leaving the outcome in doubt until the final seconds.

Barker put together a big 15-4 scoring surge over the first seven minutes of the final period to rally back to within one, 52-51, with 27 seconds to go.

A layup by Luey Castro, his third basket of the quarter, capped off that big Raiders rally which also included a three by Jordan Leising, a basket and two free throws by Aidan Voss and a bucket by Brad Cantrell.

Amari Jones answered with a layup with 17 seconds remaining to end a lengthy Albion field goal scoring drought and give the Purple Eagles a 54-51 lead.

A free throw by Aidan Mescall pulled Barker back to within two, 54-52, with 12 seconds to go. The Raiders could get no closer though as Albion regained possession after an intentional miss attempt on the second free throw try.

Albion finally put a lock on the win as Javon Jones made two clutch free throws with 9.5 seconds remaining giving the Purple Eagles a 56-52 lead.

Barker rounded out the scoring as Mescall scored a basket at the buzzer for the final margin of 56-54.

Blake Preston scored 19, Javon Jones 12, Amari Jones 11, Aquil Gaffney 6, Nick Harling 5, Sh’kwe Riley 2 and John Eibl 1 for Albion.

Castro scored 17, Mescall 13, Voss 9, Cantrell 9 and Leising 6 for Barker.

Albion led 11-9 after the first period and 31-26 at the half. Preston scored 8, including two threes, Javon Jones 7, including a three and Harling hit a three for the Purple Eagles in the second period.

Three more threes by Preston then highlighted a 17-10 third period Albion scoring edge which boosted the Purple Eagles advantage to 12, 48-36, at the three-quarter mark.

The Purple Eagles then survived the Raiders 18-8 fourth period scoring edge to improve to 2-0 in N-O competition. The loss drops the Raiders to 0-2.

Barker’s Luey Castro goes up for a shot against Albion defender Aquil Gaffney.

Albion’s Javon Jones goes in for a layup ahead of Barker’s Aidan Voss.