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Published: February 26, 2010 11:06 pm

BOYS BASKETBALL: Second-seeded Grand Island upset by Bennett

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

GRAND ISLAND — Bennett never led in regulation. It didn’t matter.

A layup by Markus Mathews with 40 seconds left in overtime gave the seventh-seeded Tigers a two-point lead and ultimately a 64-61 upset over No. 2 Grand Island in Class A-1 quarterfinal action Friday. Bennett (10-10) advances to Wednesday’s semifinals at Buffalo State, while the host Vikings finish their season 12-7.

“We’re all very disappointed,” GI coach Greg Ross said. “We just couldn’t find a way to put them away and that came back to hurt us.”

Not only did Grand Island lead by 12 in the opening quarter, the Vikings also had an eight-point advantage with just four minutes left. The Tigers, though, never laid down.

Mathews rolled in a deep 3-pointer with just over a minute left in regulation to cut the GI lead to just two. After GI’s Jeremy Figler missed two free throws, Sean Floyd came down and hit a tough floater along the baseline to tie the game at 56 and send it to overtime.

“That 3 that hit the front of the rim and then the backboard and went in was a killer,” Ross said.

Kevin Mims, who led the Tigers with 19 points and nine rebounds, converted a steal and a layup halfway through overtime to give Bennett its first lead, 59-58. Jonas Stalyga, who finished with a game-high 28 points and 16 rebounds for the Vikings, answered with a deep 3-pointer to regain the lead for GI.

Bennett would come right back with tough layups on its next two possessions. McKenzie Brown (14 points) hit the first to tie it and Mathews then hit the go-ahead shot. GI had three looks at a game-tying shot in the final 30 seconds, but none came close.

“They made some great defensive plays down the stretch and we just couldn’t get that one key bucket that we needed,” Ross said.

Bobby Ross added 16 points, 13 of which came in the first half, for the Vikings. He’s one of seven seniors that will be deeply missed, according to the elder Ross.

“It’s been a great year, a great three years with most of these guys,” the coach said, while referencing last season’s magical ride to Buffalo State. “They’re super kids.”

1-Maryvale 59, 8-Lew-Port 48

The visiting Lancers led until midway through the fourth quarter before bowing in Class A-1 quarterfinal action. Maryvale (15-4 overall) outscored Lew-Port 21-6 over the final eight minutes. It went 12-for-12 from the free-throw line in the final period.

“For three-and-a-half quarters we were right there, but I think we just ran out of gas,” Lew-Port coach Pat Krawczyk said. “It was a great effort. I’m very proud of my guys.”

Marc Morreale had 14 points and seven rebounds, Eddie Wilson notched a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds and Patrick Stevens knocked down three 3-pointers for nine points for the Lancers (7-13).

Bryce Shepard had a game-high 24 points and Blair Estarfaa added 14 for the Flyers, who advance to Tuesday’s semifinals at Buffalo State.