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Alexander Trojans captures Lions Club tournament Small School crown, 61-49 over Notre Dame

By Mike Pettinella
Alexander wins
Alexander captured the Batavia Lions Club Small School bracket championship on Friday night at Genesee Community College by defeating Notre Dame, 61-49. Photos by Deb Reilly.

The Alexander Trojans used a 17-0 spurt at the end of the second quarter and start of the third quarter to break open a close game and went on to defeat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 61-49, for the Small School bracket championship of the 42nd annual Batavia Lions Club Pete Arras Memorial Basketball Tournament.

The game took place on Friday night at Genesee Community College, prior to the Large School title contest that was won by Batavia, 56-52, over Attica.

Batavia posts thrilling 56-52 victory over Attica for Lions Club tourney Large School championship

Tournament MVP junior center Dylan Pohl scored 21 points for Coach Jalen Smith’s Trojans, doing most of his work close to the hoop, while junior guard Kingston Woods added 14 points, mostly on hard drives to the basket.

Woods joined Pohl on the all-tournament team along with Notre Dame’s Jay Antinore and Jaden Sherwood, Oakfield-Alabama’s Avery Watterson and Elba’s Michael Long.

ND led 13-6 after the first period before Alexander rallied to take a 23-21 lead on a layup by Pohl following a nifty pass by Trenton Woods. Antinore sank two free throws for the Irish to make it 23-23 before two buckets by Kingston Woods gave the Trojans a 27-23 halftime edge.

Alexander caught fire over the first three minutes of the third quarter, scoring the first 13 points of the period on baskets by Pohl, Kingston Woods, a pair of three-pointers by Paul Schmidt, and another by Trenton Woods to make the score 40-23.

The Trojans’ advantage ballooned to 54-33, with Jacob Brooks providing five points on a three-point shot and a turnaround jumper to beat the third-quarter buzzer.

Notre Dame employed a full-court press to start the fourth period, came up with several steals and created some turnovers to close the gap. A steal and layup by Sherwood made it 58-48 with just over two minutes left before a three-point shot by Brooks with 1:18 to play sealed the outcome for Alexander.

“Our game plan was to be patient on offense and look inside as much as we can because our big man (Pohl) is one of the best in the league,” Smith said. “It was all about ball security and taking care of the ball. The more we did that, the better we got on offense.”

Smith, in his first year at the helm, said he is excited about the progression of his team, which upped its record to 6-2.

“From the start, new principles and rules came in because of new coaches, and honestly, we’ve been getting after it every day, and the guys are starting to learn what we’re expecting and looking for and starting to get the job done.”

For Notre Dame, now 6-1, Sherwood was the top scorer with 12, while Ryan Fitzpatrick tallied 11, Antinore 10 and Makyell Walker nine.

ND Coach Mikey Rapone said the game turned when the Trojans got hot from three-point range,

“Basketball is a game of runs, and they went on one there in the second half,” he said. We tried to make some adjustments … but once they started hitting from the outside, we weren't able to give help against (Pohl) inside.”

All in all, he said he was “proud” of the way his players fought back and hopes they use it as a learning experience.

“Either you springboard (from) this and realize the things we need to work on … or you feel sorry for yourselves and go on a spiral. It was good to see that fight and ‘no quit.’”

In the Small School bracket consolation game, Oakfield-Alabama downed Elba, 47-35, as Gavin Armbrewster scored 11 points and Avery Watterson and Kyler Harkness 10 apiece. Michael Long had 15 for Elba.

Photos by Deb Reilly.

Dylan Pohl
Tournament MVP Dylan Pohl goes up for two of his 21 points over ND defenders Ryan Fitzpatrick (2) and George Woodruff.
Kingston Woods
Sophomore Kingston Woods played a key role in the Trojans' victory, scoring 14 points.
Jay Antinore
Jay Antinore flies in for two of his 10 points for the Fighting Irish.
Jaden Snyder
Jaden Snyder looks for a driving lane as Fitzpatrick defends.
all tournament small
Selected to the all-tournament team, from left, Dylan Pohl, Kingston Woods, Jaden Sherwood and Jay Antinore.

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