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Hamburg boys hoops uses size to beat Will. East, gains edge in home court competition

Junior forward Griffin Ryan, seen here driving to the basket earlier in the season, played a key role in Hamburg’s win over Williamsville East. (Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)
With a win nearly guaranteeing a first round home playoff game in the Class A-1 quarterfinals next week, Hamburg showed some urgency in rallying from a first-half deficit to beat Williamsville East on Friday (Feb. 8).

Using their inside game against an undersized East team, Hamburg worked its way back from an early nine-point deficit to hold on for a 54-50 victory. Hamburg improves to 8-8 overall and 6-5 in ECIC II.

“We knew going into this game that we wanted to be at home to open the playoffs, so we’d need to win this game,” noted Hamburg head coach Tim Brueckl, whose team could have clinched the home game with a win Feb. 12 against Sweet Home. If not, Hutch Tech would have had to lose one of its last two Yale Cup division games, which included a contest against a tough McKinley squad.

Griffin Ryan led that Hamburg effort in the paint, compiling 16 points and 12 rebounds, seven of which were on the offensive glass. Ryan converted on a clutch pick-and-roll late in the game.

Fellow junior Jeremiah Bill finished 7 of 10 shooting for 14 points, in addition to grabbing 11 rebounds. He added a couple of key put-backs late in the game.

Senior point guard Kyle Violanti recorded 10 points, seven assists and four steals, while 6-foot-5 junior Brandon Pierce converted a lay-up and one in the fourth quarter to stretch Hamburg’s lead to 48-40.

On a night in which Hamburg hit only 8 of 22 free throws, junior Tim Kane stepped up to the charity stripe and knocked down two key free throws with 40 second left in the game.

Whether they’ll open the playoffs in a quarterfinal home or away, the Bulldogs are guaranteed to be either the fourth and fifth seed and play Hutch Tech as the teams are locked into a Friday, Feb. 22 match-up.
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