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South Park wins season opener

After suffering through a winless season last year, the South Park boys basketball team wasted no time picking up that first ‘W’ this year.

The Sparks beat I-Prep/Grover Cleveland, 56-52, in a nonleague season opener played Monday.

Tyrell Mitchell stole a pass and scored with 1 minute remaining to tie the game at 52. Tyler Kittinger would tack on the winning points, making four consecutive free throws to put the final touches on an emotional win. They were his only points of the game.

“The fans came on the court like we just won the world championship. It was unreal,” said coach Telly Forcucci. “We had about 200 fans there, the cheerleaders were rocking, the fans were into it, it was a very entertaining game.”

Mitchell led all scorers with 18 points followed by Darius White with 17.

The long-suffering Sparks under Forcucci didn’t fare much better two years ago going 1-15. “I’ve had these guys for three years. The core has stayed with me and it’s finally starting to pay some dividends.”

South Park hosts da Vinci on Wednesday.

Daquan Walker had 20 points, five steals and seven rebounds as Burgard beat City Honors. 56-44 to advances in the Sports Alumni Tournament played at Bennett. The Bulldogs outscored the Centaurs, 23-11, in the fourth quarter.

In the other game, Aurelio Ayala’s 13 points led 12 scorers in Bennett’s 73-36 win over Olmsted.

Will South girls, Akron triumph

Emily Smith scored eight of her 13 points in the decisive fourth quarter as Williamsville South picked up a 48-42 nonleague win over Nichols. Nichols was slowed by 1 of 9 shooting from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Smith and Brianna Neeley both had 13 points for the Billies. Morgan McDermott led Nichols with 15 points, including four three-pointers.

Gina Henley’s put-back basket with 20 seconds left was the difference as Akron opened with a 37-36 nonleague win over JFK. Tobie Abrams led the Tigers with 16 points while Courtney Hallet-Jonathan added 10. Mariah Hahn led JFK with 14 points.