Batavia’s basketball season had a chance to continue after a comeback from a 14-point deficit in the second half of the team’s Far West Regional.
The Blue Devils’ season came to a frustrating end instead Saturday.
It is the Williamsville South Billies who move on to the Class A state semifinals next weekend in Glens Falls after they edged Batavia 53-51 at Buffalo State during the state tournament quarterfinal round.
Williamsville South senior Jordan Buell made a 3-pointer with 10.2 seconds remaining for the final, go-ahead basket. The Batavia Blue Devils called a second timeout after dribbling past mid-court, and inbounded the ball to senior Malachi Chenault, who stood near the lane with a Billies defender. The ball ended up on the floor, then in the hands of another Williamsville South defender Graham Dolan.
Batavia coach Buddy Brasky believed a foul should have been called, and went on the court to say so.
“Well did he get thrown to the ground, or didn’t he?” Brasky said to reporters afterward. “Did anybody see it, am I wrong?”
Clearly, it was a frustrating end to Batavia’s season.
“I just told them (a few seconds ago) that in my 25 years coaching, in the fourth quarter, that’s the most heart I’ve ever seen a team show,” Brasky said.
The Blue Devils climbed out of the hole they were in during the third quarter, to move within one point of or a tie with the Billies three times during the first 4:33 of the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils were turned back twice, but evened the score at 48 on a 3-pointer by T Sean Ayala.
A sophomore guard at Batavia who was 0 for 7 shooting in the first half, Ayala played a huge role in the comeback by the Blue Devils. Ayala finished with a team-high 20 points.
“That’s what he’s capable of,” Brasky said. “He’s a sophomore, I think he wasn’t ready for the moment early but to his credit, he stayed with it. Once he hits a shot or two, he can just fill it up. That’s all it takes sometimes.”
James A. Johnson (@jjDandC) March 06, 2016
Chenault finished with 12 points, while Trevor Sherwood added eight points and 14 rebounds for Batavia (17-8), the Section V Class A2 champion. The Dolan brothers, Greg and Graham, led Williamsville South to the team’s first trip to a state final four with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
“I’m not sure how much we were up in the fourth quarter but I think it was a decent amount,’’ Greg Dolan said. “But Batavia is such a disciplined team, a great team, they came back.
“We let off the gas and they cut it. The fourth quarter was kind of a frenzy of stuff.’’
A pull-up by Ayala reduced Williamsville South’s lead to one, 41-40, early in the final period. Both teams came up with defensive stops before Greg Dolan was fouled as he made a lay-up, and then hit the free-throw with 5:47 remaining. Ayala answered with a 3-pointer, only to see Graham Dolan connect for three points on the next Williamsville South possession.
Ayala’s 3-pointer with 3:27 remaining evened the score at 48. The score remained tied during the Blue Devils’ next possession, but Williamsville South’s Myles Hall stepped in front of a pass he turned into a layup and a 50-48 lead for the Billies with 2:54 to play.
Batavia evened the score again, this time at 50, on a jumpshot by Ayala, and took a one-point lead on its next possession after a free-throw by Chenault with 1:55 to play. The Billies missed two shots before Buell connected for the go-ahead points.