BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Championship Saturday in Section VI boys basketball kicked off with the Class B2 and B1 games, as Fredonia and Lew-Port claimed the respective sectional crowns.
The Hillbillies and Lancers will meet in the Class B crossover game, slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Buffalo State University, with the winner advancing to the New York State playoffs.
Duff, Beilein propel Lancers to Class B1 crown
There’s dynamic duos, and then there’s Jalen Duff and Bobby Beilein combined performance in Saturday’s Section VI Class B1 championship.
Duff and Beilein combined for 65 points, as the No. 1 Lancers defeated No. 6 Cheektowaga 91-66 to claim the B1 title at Buffalo State University.
It’s Lew-Port’s first sectional title since 2019.
“At the beginning of the year, a section championship was definitely in our mind,” Lancers coach Patrick Krawczyk said. “We’re happy with this, but we’re not satisfied.”
First, it was Duff who had the hot hand, scoring 13 points in the first quarter to help Lew-Port (20-3) overcome an early 7-2 deficit that they would not look back from. The senior guard, who first played varsity as an eighth-grader for the Lancers but spent last season at Nichols, ended with 36 points.
“It’s just good to bring the culture to Lew-Port that we’re a winning team,” Duff said. “We can win tough games and we can make it all the way.”
Beilein proceeded to takeover in the second frame, knocking down four of his seven 3-pointers in quarter two that helped propel the Lancers to a 43-27 halftime advantage. He finished with 29 points.
For the senior duo, it was just business as usual.
“We’ve been working the past year, over the summer just together,” Beilein said. “Building off that, and then coming out into the game and performing our best.”
Lew-Port was able to use their speed and transition game to their advantage, whether it was Duff driving to the paint and finishing or the team’s ball movement finding the open shooter beyond the arc – which was often Beilein.
On the game, the Lancers knocked down 15 3-pointers and led by as many as 32.
“It’s really about having confidence,” Duff said of his team’s hot shooting. “It’s a big gym … but if you just have confidence in your jump shot, follow your mechanics, it’ll do what it do.”
Cheektowaga’s Daryl Montgomery started hot, tallying the Warriors’ (13-11) first nine points of the game and led his squad with 15 by the end.
Fredonia hangs on late to win B2 title
Heading into the Section VI Class B2 title game on Saturday, Fredonia lost both of its regular season matchups to Salamanca by a combined 31 points.
As the cliché goes, it’s hard to beat a team three times.
Despite a late Salamanca surge, the No. 10 Fredonia Hillbillies held on for a 58-54 victory to claim the B2 championship at Buffalo State University.
It marks Fredonia’s first sectional title since 2021, when they won in Class B3.
“I think we were ready for the moment,” Fredonia coach Nick Bertrando said. “No offense to anybody but we got tired of hearing about all this underdog stuff. We fight every single day.”
After holding a 39-24 halftime advantage and leading by as many as 21 points with under three minutes to play in the third quarter, a Fredonia (18-7) win seemed all but a formality.
However, a 28-7 run for the top-seeded Warriors (20-3), with Andy Herrick scoring the final 11 points of it, made it a 54-52 game with 46 seconds to go.
The Hillbillies looked on the ropes – until junior Davion White came through in the clutch. A 3-point play from White with 16 seconds to play gave Fredonia the shot it needed to get over the line.
“I can’t lose anymore, I’m sick of losing,” White said of his mindset after making the play that turned out to be the dagger.
White finished with a team-high 21 points for Fredonia, scoring all eight of his team’s points in the third quarter. Herrick led all scorers with 23 for Salamanca.
The Hillbillies opened the game hot from deep, knocking seven first half 3-pointers and nine on the game. They were able to get to the paint at will against the press of the reigning Section VI Class C champions.
A 4-point play from junior Mike Hahn contributed to a 19-6 run that spanned parts of the first and second quarters, and helped give Fredonia their loft advantage prior to Salamanca’s comeback.
“You see the first one go down and all of a sudden [the rim] just gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger,” Bertrando said of his team’s hot shooting start. “I’m just really proud of these guys.”
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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.