Williams lifts Redskins over rival Bulldogs
WESTMORELAND — Donovan Williams’ layup with 2.6 seconds to go was the game-winning basket as the Oriskany boys basketball team executed a successful press break to rally back and hand Westmoreland its first loss of the season, 71-70, in Thursday night’s thrilling Center State Conference crossover rivalry contest at Westmoreland High School.
“As I was going down the court, I was just thinking, if I miss this, I’m going to blow it,” Williams said. “But I had to keep the confidence up and it went in.”
Oriskany moved to 6-2 overall this season while Westmoreland dropped to 6-1.
Williams led the scoring charge in the fourth quarter that fueled the comeback for Oriskany. Down 64-58 with just under four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Williams scored 11 points, with two key three-pointers. The senior swingman’s first three of the quarter came with 2:51 to go and it cut the Westmoreland lead to 66-63. Ricky Phleps knocked down two free throws that brought the game to 66-65 with 2:27 left.
As Oriskany was making its run, Westmoreland senior Luke Fredsell pushed the lead back up to four at 69-65 after knocking down a clutch three with 2:08 remaining. Fredsell finished with a game-high 34 points for the Bulldogs. Phelps finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and nine assists for the Redskins. Mykal Warcup added 18 points for Oriskany in the win.
“This win means everything,” Phelps said. “We knew that they were undefeated coming in and they beat us bad last time and it just didn’t sit well with us. This win shows a lot, it shows that we have potential.”
Westmoreland won the first meeting, 60-52, on Dec. 9.
Williams sank a three to cut the deficit to 69-68. After the Redskins got a stop on defense, Williams knocked down the front end of a 1-and-1 to tie the game at 69 with 1:06 to go. Nik Hameister was fouled on the ensuing possession for Westmoreland and he also made the front end of a 1-and-1 to make it 70-69 with 50.4 seconds left. Both sides missed free throws coming down the stretch. With 32.1 seconds left, Hameister, made the second of two free throws, but the make was negated due to a lane violation on Westmoreland, which gave Williams and Oriskany the shot to win it at the end.
“It was key to contest Fredsell’s shot (in the fourth quarter) and make him give it up,” Oriskany head coach Chris Mahoney said. “Making him take an off balance shot and for us to finally start boxing out, we were able to get possession.”
“Hats off to Westmoreland, but banners aren’t held up in early January,” Mahoney added. “I think this is a bigger win for us after what happened on Monday night with us not coming ready to play. I think we showed that we have potential to be a good, if not a great team and this is what some of these younger kids needed to move forward.”
Westmoreland, which trailed 36-33 at halftime, made its run with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter. Fredsell scored nine straight points for the Bulldogs, making three straight three-pointers which gave the hosts a 51-47 lead. The Bulldogs ended the third quarter with a 55-53 lead.
Nik Hameister scored 16 points and Zach Stephens added 15 points for Westmoreland.
“Competitive. Two very competitive teams, two competitive coaches. These kids have been competing against each other for a very long time,” Westmoreland head coach Nick Facciolo commented. “We had an opportunity to put the game away, we just didn’t execute.”