Zaire Dorsey didn’t want to be the one to call his McKinley basketball program a dynasty. But after the Macks beat Williamsville South on Saturday at Buffalo State, 71-66, to win the Class A-1 boys basketball title – their third straight and sixth in the last eight years – the word entered the conversation.
“I don’t know if it’s a dynasty. I’ll let somebody else say if it’s a dynasty. But we expect to be here,” Dorsey said, referencing the championship game. “We practice six times a week. We really work hard and we expect to be here, so dynasty or no dynasty, we like coming to Buff State and we like to put on a show.”
And what a show it was. McKinley fought through a talented Williamsville South defense and attacked the hoop all night and the Billies couldn’t knock down enough three-pointers to keep up.
McKinley’s Devin Morris scored a game-high 25 points and co-star Varin Lenard added 16. Matt Macomber led Williamsville South with 14 points.
McKinley (15-6) will play Class A-2 champion Cheektowaga (16-5) for the overall Class A title at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Buffalo State.
McKinley led 19-18 after the first quarter and 35-30 at halftime. An 11-2 run in the third quarter gave Willamsville South a lead at 46-42 – and the Billies led for most of the quarter – but every time they got up, McKinley eventually clamped back down.
The Macks used a 7-0 burst late in the third to take a 53-52 lead into the final quarter. Willamsville South’s Sam Castronova hit a deep three-pointer with four minutes to go and South hit a free throw shortly after to bring it back to 64-61, but again McKinley closed the door.
Castronova hit a wild, off-balance three-pointer with 19.4 seconds left to cut it to one possession at 69-66, but Williamsville South had to foul and Juwan Toliver hit a free throw to put the Macks up by four. McKinley made eight free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Castronova finished with 10 points after scoring 17 in the semifinals but was shut out from three-point range until the fourth quarter. Grant Beyer had 13 points and three three-pointers but Williamsville South – known for three-point shooting – was limited from behind the arc.
“They just pressured us a lot, and they’re real athletic so they’re able to get hands in our faces. We didn’t shoot it great tonight,” Castronova said. “The whole first half we were like two points, four points back, then we made that run but then they just came back.”
McKinley beat Williamsville South, 77-46, in the semifinals last year, so this game could be seen as improvement for the Billies. But they own the only two titles McKinley doesn’t have over the last eight years.
“We plan on being right back here and winning this game next year,” Castronova said.