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Short-handed Hamburg falls twice in tourney, Frontier downed in pair of division games

IN FOR THE LAY-UP — Doug Horbachewski coasts in for the lay-up in a recent game for Hamburg, which went 0-2 at the Maryvale Holiday Tournament. Photo courtesy of Ron Larson.
Hamburg pushed defending ECIC IV division champion Cleveland Hill to the brink, but without its most experienced guard in the game, due to an injury, it couldn’t overcome the eventual Maryvale Holiday Tournament champion.

The Golden Eagles held on for the 49-48 win in the opening round of the tournament on Dec. 27, even as Hamburg had a shot with the ball in the game’s final seconds.

Playing without senior guard Tim Kane, who rolled his ankle just over a minute into the game and couldn’t return, the Bulldogs got to within one, grabbed a rebound on a missed front-end free throw with 10 seconds left and got a shot up from the top of the key that was no good. Hamburg got the rebound but could not get up another shot before the buzzer.

“We did very well despite Timmy being out, against a good team,” Hamburg head coach Tim Brueckl said.

The Bulldogs would lose twice in the tournament despite getting a pair of double-doubles from senior forward Brandon Pierce, who finished an all-tournament effort with 31 points and 32 rebounds.

Hamburg, which opened the season winning the Town of Hamburg Lions Club Tournament before splitting a pair of ECIC Division II games, then succumbed to the full-court pressure of host Maryvale in falling 67-55.

After getting off to a slow start, the Bulldogs cut the deficit to six at halftime, but Maryvale extended that margin to 10 early in the third quarter and kept it there most of way.

“They pressured us most of the time and we had a couple of younger guys playing guard that never had to handle that much pressure,” Brueckl said. “Maryvale does a good job in zone and man press, so it was a big loss having Timmy out of that game.”

Also in that loss, Griffin Ryan finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds and Pierce and Bill added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Against Cleve Hill, Pierce had 19 points and 16 rebounds, while Ryan notched 15 points and 5 boards. Bill added 6 rebounds.

Hamburg did not get in a divisional showdown with Williamsville South on Jan. 3 due to weather and its next scheduled game for Tuesday (Jan. 7) was also in doubt due to blizzard-like conditions hitting the southtowns of Buffalo.

Elsewhere, the Frontier boys basketball team has started the season 1-2 in ECIC I play, falling to two of the division’s top teams in Clarence and Williamsville North, despite a pair of noteworthy performances from senior guard Jay Bergmann.

After defeating West Seneca West, 50-41, Frontier dropped a 70-52 game to Clarence. Trailing 42-27 at the half, Frontier cut Clarence’s lead to eight points but could get no closer.

Bergmann erupted for 25 points, while seniors AJ Licata added 10 and Erik Hatten contributed 11 points and 9 rebounds.

In a 63-50 lost to North, Bergmann scored a career-high 34 points on 11 of 18 shooting. He knocked down six three-pointers in the loss.

The Falcons again put together a second-half surge, cutting a 31-17 deficit to four in the third quarter, but North held them off.

Frontier had its games Jan. 3 against Jamestown and Jan. 6 at Orchard Park canceled due to inclement weather. The team’s next scheduled game is Thursday, Jan. 9 at home against ECIC I foe Lancaster.
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