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Raiders rally to nip Mustangs in thriller to clinch tie for N-O title

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 4 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Purple Eagles down Rams

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Barker’s Jacob Haight drives to the basket for a dunk during first quarter action of the host Raiders exciting victory over visiting Medina this evening to clinch at least a tie for the Niagara-Orleans League title.

In a down to the wire thriller, Barker put together a big second half rally to edge past visiting Medina 42-39 this evening and snap a 36 year title drought by clinching at least a tie for the Niagara-Orleans League championship.

Jacob Haight scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to help lead the successful comeback for Barker which also got 8 by both Mitch Luckman and Hayden Gooding, 5 by Bryce Moeller and 2 by Jarid Worthington.

The victory keeps Barker perfect at 11-0 in N-O action (15-0 overall) while runner-up Medina slips three games off the pace at 8-3 with just three league games remaining.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Barker’s Bryce Moeller tries to knock a rebound away from Medina’s Munjie Brown.

“It’s nice,” said Barker Coach Dave Carson of the Raiders first championship since earning the Genesee Region League title in 1978. “It’s a community thing and it’s nice to see a lot of people here. It’s nice to see that kind of support and it was Senior Night.”

The Raiders last claimed the N-O crown in 1945.

Munjie Brown took game high scoring honors for Medina with 25 as Jason Hellwig added 7, Adam Hoot 3 and Ben McPherson and Kevin Arnold 2 each.

Trailing by seven, 24-17, at the half, Barker came battling back in the third period outscoring Medina 12-5 to rally into a 29-29 tie at the three-quarter mark.

Haight had a jumper and a lay-up to cap the rally which also included layups by Moeller, Gooding and Worthington.

Keeping the momentum, Haight then erupted for 11 points in the decisive final quarter on two threes, a pair of layups and a free throw to help lock up the tie for the title for the Raiders.

Haight hit his two threes to offset a pair of threes by Brown with the later long-range shot giving the Raiders a 41-37 lead with 1:05 remaining.

A jumper by Hellwig did pull Medina within two at 41-39 but the Mustangs could get no closer.

Haight then made one of two from the line giving the Raiders a three point, 42-39 lead which held up as Medina had a three attempt at the buzzer bounce off the rim.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Jason Hellwig puts up a shot for Medina against Barker defenders Mitch Luckman (4) and Hayden Gooding (12).

“It was a nice comeback,” said Carson. “Give Medina a lot of credit they really managed the game well. We had to play at their pace but we did hit some timely shots. It was a really old school game, a good defensive battle.”

Medina held a narrow 10-9 lead after one quarter as Hoot and Hellwig hit threes in the early going.

Controlling the boards at both ends, the Mustangs built the advantage to 24-17 at the half as Brown erupted or 12 points in the second period on two threes and three rebound buckets.

Barker though came rallying back in the second half to outscore Medina 25-15 and clinch at least a tie for that first elusive title in 36 years.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Mitch Luckman on a drive for the Raiders against David Garrow of the Mustangs.

Albion 74, Roy-Hart 64
Regaining the .500 mark in N-O action at 6-6, Albion downed visiting Roy-Hart (6-5) 75-64 this evening as Alex Bison poured in a career high 26 ponts and Des Blackmon netted 18 to lead the way.

Clayton Standon added 11 points and 9 rebounds for the Purple Eagles and Ryan Fannin 6 points.

Alex Stoddard took game high scoring honors with 29 for Roy-Hart as Andy Xapsos added 13 and DaRon Woods 10.

Breaking away from a 50-50 deadlock at the three-quarter mark, Albion outscored Roy-Hart 24-14 down the stretch to claim the victory. Blackmon had 10 points, including two threes to lead that surge.

Earlier, Bison had 9 points in the first quarter and 7 more in the third to keep Albion close as Roy-Hart held narrow leads of 17-14 after one period and 32-30 at the half.

Newfane 44, Akron 25
Josh Kneeland had 16 points, 18 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists and Sean Costello 11 points to lead Newfane past Akron 44-25.

The Panthers led 16-9 after one quarter, 24-13 at the half and 36-21 after three quarters.

Newfane is now 4-8 and Akron 1-10.

CSAT 50, Wilson 35
Kyle Bradley scored 14 and Emmett Dinse 7 for Wilson (4-7) in a 50-35 loss to CSAT (5-6).