BELFAST — Belfast’s chances of securing a share of the Allegany County Division I boys basketball title remain slim.
However, the Bulldogs earned a nice consolation prize Thursday, beating league champion Genesee Valley for the second time in three meetings. Adam Enders made sure of it.
Enders dropped 56 points on the Jaguars as red-hot Belfast took the rubber match, 73-62, inside a packed Paul Vienna Memorial Gymnasium.
On his Senior Night — and one game removed from setting the Allegany County career scoring mark — Enders broke his own single-game school record of 54 points.
“Of course he did,” Bulldogs coach Joe Hennessy said with a smile. “That’s him.”
Belfast (12-6, 5-2) led only 32-29 at halftime but went ahead by as many as 14 points in the second half, winning for the 11th time in 12 games. Enders took over the game in about every possible way, scoring through contact on tough drives to the hoop, hitting pull-up 3-pointers with a hand in his face and going 15-for-16 from the free-throw line. He finished 7-of-14 from 3-point range and scored all 20 of the Bulldogs’ fourth-quarter points.
“He does a phenomenal job about getting everybody else involved as well … even though it didn’t look like it,” Hennessy said. “He played phenomenal defense, he rebounded well. He got the ball moving and played great D, took a couple charges.”
Enders, who plans to continue his playing career at Alfred University, broke the county scoring record held by 1993 Friendship graduate Jason Amore on Tuesday at Fillmore. After Thursday, he has 2,409 career points.
Genesee Valley (11-7, 6-1) could have clinched the league title outright Thursday. The Jaguars can still do so Tuesday with a win against Bolivar-Richburg — a team they defeated 64-42 previously.
Against Belfast, Cody Schneider led GV with 21 points, while Evan Windus scored 14, and Josh McGuire and Riley Gordon added 12 apiece.
Belfast started the season 1-5, including a 69-59 defeat by GV. But the Bulldogs have lost only once since. Their other win over the Jaguars was in the Andover Lions Club Tournament championship game — a non-league matchup — by a 64-54 score.
“We started early with a very tough schedule,” Hennessy said. “It was no secret to anybody that it was a tough schedule. We had a late start, and it’s finally starting to click together. We’re trying to get some momentum going into the real season coming up.”
With a once-in-a-generation player like Enders set to graduate, Belfast’s focus all along has been on the postseason. The Bulldogs moved up to Allegany County Division I this season after dominating D-II the last two years. They’re chasing the program’s first Section 5 title since 1940.
“Our plan was to play the best competition that we could possibly in the regular season,” Hennessy said. “Nothing against where we were before in Division II, but whatever would allow us to be able to play better competition, stronger competition, bigger, stronger guys, bigger schools. We’ll take the wins or losses with that. So far, I’m hoping it’s going to work out for us.”
Genesee Valley (62)
Baker 1 0-0 3, McGuire 5 1-1 12, Windus 7 0-0 14, Gordon 4 0-0 12, Schneider 8 5-13 21. Totals: 25 6-14 62.
McCumiskey 3 0-0 6, Ad. Enders 17 15-16 56, H. Enders 1 0-0 3, Al. Enders 1 0-0 2, Struckmann 3 0-0 6. Totals: 25 15-16 73.
Genesee Valley 12 29 43 62
Belfast 14 32 53 73
Three-point goals: GV 6 (Gordon 4, Baker, McGuire); Belfast 8 (Ad. Enders 7, H. Enders). Total fouls: GV 14, Belfast 12. Fouled out: None.
JV: Belfast, 54-51.