With three wins in a five-day span, the Solvay boys basketball team further established its credentials as a league and Section III Class B title contender and took a 7-2 record into the holiday break.
Of those wins, none carried as much weight as Friday night’s 63-56 decision over Jordan-Elbridge, where the Bearcats absorbed another star turn from the Eagles’ Jeremiah Sparks and answered it with big efforts from Robby Clark and others.
J-E came into the game with its own 5-1 mark, but had yet to show this season that it could get consistent production from anyone besides Sparks, and that didn’t change against Solvay.
Sparks put up all but two of the Eagles’ field goals in the first half, and for a while that did work as J-E led 22-21 early in the second quarter.
Solvay, by contrast, had all five of its starters earn a field goal by the latter part of the first period, though it was Clark and, to a lesser extent, Justin Scott and Brock Bagozzi, that would take over.
Having moved in front 33-29 by halftime, the Bearcats scored nine points in a span of less than 90 seconds early in the third quarter, five of them by Clark as Scott and Bagozzi also earned baskets.
Now with a double-digit edge, the Bearcats built its margin to 57-39, only to go cold and get shut out for four minutes in the final period, long enough for the Eagles to climb back in it.
That meant more from Sparks, and his seven points keyed a 10-0 run as he eventually built his total to 43 points. Continuing to fight, J-E cut the margin to 60-56 on a steal and layup by Mitch Holt in the final minute.
However, an intentional foul called on the Eagles gave Solvay two free throws and the ball. Clark hit three of the four ensuing foul shots to put the game away.
For the night, Clark gained 27 points, while Scott finished with 16 points and Bagozzi added 11 points. Solvay, tied with Mexico atop the OHSL Liberty American division, resumes its season Jan. 4 against Hannibal as J-E visits Westmoreland next week.
Also on Friday night, West Genesee hosted Nottingham. Again, the Wildcats’ undefeated mark was put at risk and again, it came through with a victory, rallying in the fourth quarter to top the Bulldogs 75-68.
WG led throughout the first half, but its slim 30-28 advantage disappeared when Nottingham (who had won at Baldwinsville earlier in the week) outscored them 24-18 in a high-scoring third quarter.
The Wildcats’ late response came in several forms. Part of it was a career-best performance from Jack McLane, who kept getting big baskets and didn’t stop until he had recorded 26 points.
Nottingham couldn’t focus on McLane, either, because Will Amica (15 points), Lucas Sutherland (12 points) and Kam Jones (10 points) all got into double figures, too. Mazi Jackson led the Bulldogs with 21 points.
Westhill was also at home, taking on Christian Brothers Academy, and the Brothers’ defense made the difference as it defeated the Warriors 49-43.
Throughout the night, Westhill found it difficult to break through against CBA’s pressure, which was especially effective on Zach Brown as they held him to seven points.
Liam Sanborn did get 13 points and Charlie Bolesh added 11 points, but the Warriors were unable to overcome a 33-22 halftime deficit as Nick Valenti and Ryan Mackenzie, with 11 points apiece, led a balanced Brothers attack.