Creating offense off its defense became the key for the McKinley boys basketball team.
The Macks capitalized on turnovers and scored in transition off defensive rebounds to earn a 73-60 win over Middle Early College. The win kept McKinley (8-0) undefeated in Yale Cup Division I. And that’s no easy feat the deeper the team goes into the season.
“It’s tough to go into a game when you’re undefeated in the league and still feel like you have to win the game,” McKinley coach Zaire Dorsey said. “We emphasized to the kids that we needed to win, that this was a big game for us.”
The Macks started out heeding that advice in taking an 18-10 first-quarter lead. But Middle Early College scored 24 points in the second quarter to cut the lead to just four at halftime.
After the break, McKinley went on a 10-0 run to create the space needed for the win.
“We’d get the defensive rebound and get out running,” Dorsey said. “We got deflections, steals and started looking for the open man and running. We scored off three turnovers in the first two minutes of the quarter.”
Lovell Smith scored 21 points with 10 rebounds while Daequan Warren had 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Macks. Marcus Morris scored all 17 of his points in the second quarter while helping to distribute the ball with 19 assists.
Meanwhile, it was a solid defensive effort for Lockport, which keyed the Lions to a 45-32 win over North Tonawanda.
With the win, the Lions improved to 8-3 in Niagara Frontier League play and took possession of second place in the standings behind Niagara Falls.
After the teams played to a 10-10 tie in the first quarter, the Lions held North Tonawanda to just one point in the second. Lockport was led defensively by swing guard Phil Crenshaw.
“I think as far as our rotation goes on defense we did an outstanding job,” Lockport coach Dave Gilson said. “We were patient against their zone and looked for a good shot instead of coming down and settling for a three. We’ve been working on that and we got a lot of second chances as well.”
Charlie Sobierski had 11 points and 17 rebounds for Lockport.
Lester Diaz scored the final seven points of the game to lead Lafayatte to a 66-64 comeback win over Olmsted in Yale Cup III. Diaz hit a three-pointer with 14 seconds left, stole the inbounds pass and scored to tie the game, 64-64 with 12 seconds left. He was then fouled with less than a second to play while attempting a three-pointer. He made two of three to secure the win and a 6-0 league mark for Lafayatte. He finished with 29 points, 13 steals and eight assists.
With a career-high 32 points Melissa Smith reached the 1,000-point career scoring mark to lead her Niagara-Wheatfield team to a 72-50 win over Kenmore East in Niagara Frontier League play. Smith had four three-pointers while teammate Rachel Pawlak netted 30 points, also connecting on four three-pointers.
Colleen Wirth scored 15 points with six steals to help pace sixth-ranked Iroquois to a 41-28 win over Williamsville East in ECIC II.
Class Championship finals take place today as qualifiers for the Section VI championships. Class AA is at Lockport, Class A is at Starpoint. Class B is in East Aurora, Class C is at Eden and Class D is at Portville.