ALLEGANY — After a hot-shooting first quarter for Olean, the Allegany-Limestone boys basketball team made the Huskies cool off, and the Gators’ defense didn’t let up.
Olean led 19-11 after the first quarter of Friday night’s CCAA West I matchup, the first of two meetings for cross-town rivals this regular season. But the Huskies didn’t score in double digits in any of the remaining quarters, and the Gators slowly wrestled control of a tight, slowed-down contest. A-L held Olean scoreless over the final six minutes of regulation in a 47-43 victory.
“Defense has been the stress since Day 1,” said A-L coach Glenn Anderson. “We know we can score, but if there’s nights we’re not shooting that well, like tonight, when we’re in the 40s, if you defend, you’re going to give yourself a chance. I think we did that. After the first quarter, they had 19 in the first quarter and after that, I thought we were lights out defensively.”
Tyler Curran scored 13 points, including the tying basket with less than six minutes to play, with seven rebounds. Amid a long cold stretch for both teams, Jayden Gustafson’s mid-range jumper with 1:49 left in game gave A-L a 45-43 lead, and later Michael Wolfgang iced the game with both ends of one-and-one free throws after securing a rebound with 9.3 seconds left.
Wolfgang finished with 10 points. Casey Curran added nine points and 11 rebounds in a near double-double for the Gators (8-2, 3-0).
What went wrong for Olean’s offense in the fourth? First-year OHS coach Tim Kolasinski credited the Gators, but thought his team missed some makeable shots.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Allegany,” he said. “They played a really tough game. They played very well, but I think actually we went a little cold offensively in the second quarter, which kind of slowed our momentum down and the same thing kind of happened in the fourth quarter. Just good defense, but some shots that we could have had that just didn’t go.”
Jason Brooks and Covi James led the Huskies (6-5, 1-2) with 12 points each. A-L held James well below his average (25.1 in nine games entering Friday night).
Olean pushed A-L out of its 1-3-1 zone after the first quarter.
“They did a nice job of preparing for our 1-3-1,” Anderson said. “We probably weren’t as aggressive in it as we should have been in trying to trap and force the action a little bit. They got some reversals, they got open threes for good shooters. So coming in, you have good shooters and open threes, that’s the fear.
“You expect them to make those. I think once we went man and locked in, I thought we were really great. I thought Ben Giardini did a heck of a job on Covi. I thought he did a real good job of forcing tough jumpers.”
Giardini, one of four senior starters (along with Wolfgang, Casey Curran and Gus Napoleon), has often handled opponents’ top scoring guards for A-L.
“Just some tendency stuff that we’ve talked about in practice, trying to get him to do certain things and him being a savvy defender,” Anderson said of Giardini’s keys to the matchup. “He’s played (Randolph senior) Tyler Hind the last three years and done a really nice job on him. He’s just one of those kids that will go out there and just lock you down. He’s tough.”
Both teams played relatively whistle-free, with just 18 combined fouls (12 on Olean, 6 on A-L) and only 11 free throws (Olean 0-2, A-L 7-9).
The win marked A-L’s first over Olean in Anderson’s eight years as coach. The rematch for the once-again league rivals is set for Monday, Feb. 3 at Olean High.
AT ALLEGANY Olean (43)
Z. James 2 0-0 6, McClain 1 0-0 3, C. James 5 0-2 12, Brooks 5 0-0 12, J. McClain 2 0-0 4, Klein 3 0-0 6. Totals: 18 0-2 43.
Giardini 2 2-2 6, T. Curran 4 2-3 13, Napoleon 2 0-0 5, Gustafson 2 0-0 4, C. Curran 4 1-2 9, Wolfgang 3 2-2 10. Totals: 17 7-9 47. Olean 19 27 36 43 A-L 11 24 39 47
Three-point goals: Olean 7 (Z. James 2, K. McClain, C. James 2, Brooks 2); A-L 6 (T. Curran 3, Napoleon, Wolfgang 2). Total fouls: Olean 12, A-L 6. Fouled out:
JV: A-L, 42-32.