Lancers celebrate senior night with big win
St. Mary’s hosted Archbishop Walsh, the team that handed the Lancers their last defeat on Jan. 31 in Olean. The Lancers were looking to make a statement with a little bit of revenge as the last hurrah for the seniors on their home court.
In a special night, it of course had to be the seniors that led St. Mary’s to victory. It happened that way as senior Nate Meyers led the team with 19 points on five three-pointers while classmate Jake Denz added 17 points in a 77-60 St. Mary’s win.
The victory clinches the No. 3 seed in the Manhattan Cup playoffs for the Lancers. The playoffs begin this weekend with St. Mary’s likely to host Niagara Catholic.
Tuesday’s game had been circled on the calendar for a while for St. Mary’s. Not only was it senior night, it was a chance to avenge one of the few defeats in league play this season for the Lancers. Walsh earned a 69-50 win on Jan. 31 that put them ahead of St. Mary’s in the Monsignor Martin and Small School standings. St. Mary’s head coach Dan Gill said the team has responded well since that day.
“We’ve been selling that we just had a bad day when we first played (Walsh) down there,” Gill said. “They responded against Cardinal O’Hara in the next game and now we’ve won four in a row.”
Everything was set up for the Lancers to deliver the Eagles some payback on Tuesday, especially with 10 seniors looking to have one more special evening at home on Senior Night. The seniors stepped up in a big way.
Denz posted one of his best games of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Gill was happy to see him bounce back after a couple of tough performances.
“Jake Denz had been struggling,” Gill said. “He had a double double and also guarded Walsh’s best player, Ryan Whelpley.”
Gill said the key to victory was the play of St. Mary’s point guards. Meyers knocked down five three-pointers on his way to 19 points, while another senior, Erik Simmons, had nine points and seven assists.
“Our point guards had a willingness to make the extra pass and that opened things up for us,” Gill said.
Fellow seniors Nicc Johnson and Devin Redden had 12 and eight points respectively. Redden also added 10 rebounds.
Gill said Tuesday’s game was a special moment for him and his outgoing seniors.
“Personally it was unique because those guys were freshmen when we came in and took over the program,” Gill said. “It’s amazing how quickly it goes. They all got a chance to play (Tuesday). I was happy for all of them.”
The Lancers are now 17-6 overall and 9-3 in the Monsignor Martin. That locks them into the No. 3 spot for the playoffs. St. Mary’s does have one regular season game left when they visit Newfane on Friday at 7 p.m. for a non-league tune-up.
Meanwhile, Depew’s senior night did not go quite as planned as they suffered a 68-60 defeat at the hands of East Aurora on Monday night.
Depew head coach Larry Jones thought his team played very well against East Aurora, but it was not enough to overcome another big game from Blue Devil star Stan Wier, who had 26 points.
“We got off to a nice start,” Jones said. “They just shot lights out. They took the lead, but we were only down 51-50 with three minutes to go. Then they made a couple of three’s and we didn’t answer. That was the difference in the game. It was as well as we played in a month, but it’s more of a challenge going up against East Aurora and Stan Wier.”
Senior Jaden Cotton led Depew with 19 points in his final home game. Sophomore Derrick Sekuterski showed why he will be key to Depew’s future as he added 16 points. Depew opened up the game on an 11-0 run, but things began to slip away during a second quarter that saw the Blue Devils outscore the Wildcats, 21-10.
Depew will now turn its attention to sectionals as the Wildcats sit with an 11-6 record overall and a 6-5 record in ECIC III play. The Wildcats are currently fourth in the ECIC III standings and visit third-place Cheektowaga on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the final game of the regular season.
The Wildcats are looking to extract a little bit of revenge as Cheektowaga came from behind to defeat Depew, 65-64, in the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 20. Depew led by four points in that game with just 20 seconds left to play before the Warriors roared back.
“It was a great game last time,” Jones said. “We gave it to them for a bit. We were up with 20 seconds left. We just didn’t finish as well as we wanted to.”
With sectionals approaching, Jones has his team focused on taking care of the ball, limiting turnovers, maximizing possessions and being better in late-game situations. He said these are the keys to winning in the postseason.
“It’s February, but we’re still looking to get better,” Jones said. “If we can do that, we’ll have a chance in sectionals.”
Jones will be relying on the play of captains Sekuterski, Aaron Ertel and Jon Gemerek to lead the Wildcats. He said they need to show they are more than just a one-man team if they want to advance in sectionals.
“It’s not just Jaden; we have a lot of guys who can contribute for us in sectionals,” Jones said.
Lancaster was hoping to close out the regular season on a high note against Jamestown on Wednesday night. The game began after The Bee went to press.
Lancaster has won just one of its last five games and currently sits with a 5-12 overall record, though they are 4-9 in ECIC I play. The Redskins fell hard when they visited Sweet Home on Thursday night. The Panthers ran away with a 63-51 victory, despite 20 points from junior Colin Stotz.
The ECIC I postseason will begin this weekend. email: firstname.lastname@example.org