JAMESTOWN — The referee signals for a touchdown in football and a three-pointer in basketball are the same. And don’t the Randolph Cardinals know it.
Randolph, with a roster loaded with members of its two-time state championship football team, hit eight three-pointers during a football-tough performance as the Cardinals beat Maple Grove, 50-44, in Friday night’s Section VI Class C-2 championship.
In the second of two Class C finals before an estimated 1,800 at Jamestown Community College’s Physical Education Complex, a program that is also very familiar with championships earned itself another one.
Middle Early College won its third straight Section VI Class C-1 title and its fourth in the last five years as it overwhelmed Silver Creek, 64-51. Senior forward Bri’an Brown scored 24 points and senior guard Kevin Briggs had 19 as the Kats took a 39-28 halftime lead and flirted with a 20-point lead the rest of the night.
Middle Early College (16-5) and Randolph (15-6) will play for the overall Class C championship at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Buffalo State.
“It’s seniors – a lot of seniors, and they want to win,” said Middle Early College coach Randy Rich, whose program won a state championship in 2010. “They went out and they were not going to be denied tonight and they played their game. If we play our game, I think we’re pretty good.”
Some Kats players had some revenge on their mind against Silver Creek (12-9), which beat Middle College in last year’s overall Class C final (Silver Creek was a C-2 school last year).
“We couldn’t wait to get them back,” said Briggs. “This was a revenge game, but we’ve got to keep going, there are more games to go, more tests.”
The 6-foot-4 Brown was often overpowering near the basket and hit several short jumpers, while the 5-10 Briggs had two three-pointers during a very solid game running the point. The Kats also concentrated on going right at Silver Creek standout 6-7 senior Bill Brooks (13 points), and they successfully fouled him out with 4:57 left in the game, at which point they had a 59-39 lead.
For Randolph, the success of the football team permeated the school’s first sectional title since 2009 and what was a second sectional title this school year for several players.
Senior Mitch Maycock, the quarterback on the football team, had four three-pointers and 13 points, while junior Bryce Morrison, who caught many passes from Maycock at receiver, had 14 points and two threes for the Cardinals.
“It’s amazing – no one expects us to do it in basketball,” said Morrison. “They all expect state champs in football, that’s what the town wants. Now we’re adding another sport, it’s a great feeling.”
Randolph, which has won the last two Class D state titles in football (the state has different classification guidelines for different sports, thus the Cardinals are in different classes in the two), took a 26-15 halftime lead and maintained a double-digit lead for much of the second half before a late flurry by Maple Grove.
Cody Oldro, a 6-3 senior who was a first-team All-Western New York lineman in football, scored eight points, all on four second-half baskets that helped the Cardinals maintain their lead. Maycock’s fourth three of the game gave Randolph a 43-31 lead with 3:30 left. Maple Grove (12-9), which also hit eight threes, had three of them in the final 90 seconds.