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H.S. Boys Basketball: Frontier runs away with win over Hamburg at Lions Club Tourney

Tourney at Frontier continues Thursday through Saturday
Hamburg’s Griffin Ryan fights to get to the basket as he’s defended by Frontier’s Tyger German in the Falcons opening round win at the Hamburg Lions Club Tournament on Tuesday (Dec. 4). (Photo by Michael J. Petro)

When they met in last year’s Hamburg Lions Club Tip-Off Tournament, Hamburg took Frontier down to the wire before falling to the tournament’s two-time defending champion. In the tournament’s opening round this season, Frontier would never give its crosstown rival a chance to hang around.

The Falcons knocked down 10 three-pointers, seven of those came in the first half, to run away with a 74-45 win over Hamburg on Tuesday (Dec. 4) in the opening day of the four-day tournament. Before Hamburg knew it, Frontier was out to a 25-5 lead after the first quarter on the strength of its shooting and aggressiveness.

Senior point guard Kevin Marcinkowski, Frontier’s lone starter back from last season, led a cast of 11 players who scored for the Falcons with 16 points, including a pair of long range first half three-pointers, and notched five assists and three early steals.

“The fast start was huge for us,” Frontier head coach Gary Domzalski said. “Marcinkowski is our only starter back so I wasn’t sure how everyone else would react to playing bigger roles. I think it helped everyone’s confidence to get off to that quick start.”

Hamburg head coach Tim Brueckl had warned his team not to get outhustled to loose balls and give up the threes. He said allowing 70-plus points is proof that his team didn’t show enough fight.

“Their guys played a little harder and had more in the tank,” he said. “We knew they were small but they could shoot. We just didn’t want to guard, and they hit everything they shot in that first quarter. The rest of the game was pretty even. We just can’t let a team jump on us like that.”

Also for Frontier, sophomore guard Jay Bergmann added 11 points, nailing three from beyond the arc, while junior forward David Rajski went for nine points on the strength of a trio of three-pointers.

Senior Tyger German did most of his damage at the start of the game, notching all eight of his points in the first half, and junior forward AJ Licata also finished with eight points and grabbed a team-leading 10 rebounds.

For being such a small team, Domzalski was happy to see that Frontier recorded 38 boards. “I thought we’d miss (2012 graduate) Matt Taylor’s rebounds, but AJ stepped up and then after that we had a bunch of guys with two and three rebounds. We don’t have the one guy like we did in the past so it’s going to take a team rebounding effort,” Domzalski noted.

Junior power forward Griffin Ryan gave a solid all-around performance in the loss, finishing with 15 points. Senior Andrew Sardinia added nine points, while junior center Jeremiah Bill showed some toughness inside and finished with eight points.

Senior Kyle Violanti drew a tough assignment in his first game switching to the point guard spot going up against Marcinkowski. Violanti added five points. Hamburg also put themselves behind the eight ball in missing 23 free throws.

“Marcinkowski was tough on us and he did a good job on Violanti,” Brueckl noted. “We have some experience but not really. Violanti is getting used to the point and guys like Sardinia and Bill are still trying to find it. We need the kind of energy that Griffin gave us out of everyone.”
St. Francis point guard Cory Cullen looks for a place to to go with the ball as Lackawanna's Javon Smith closes in during the opening game of the night. Lackawanna won to move on to Friday's final. (Photo by Michael J. Petro)

In the game prior, Lackawanna’s Amhad Abdo put 30 points on St. Francis in a 75-61 win. The Red Raiders jumped out to a 19-17 lead after the first quarter but Lackawanna took over with a 19-7 second quarter.

Leading St. Francis was David Kennedy with 13 points. Brennan Macey added 12 points, including a pair of three-pointers, while Maurice Burse and Cory Cullen each added 11.

The tournament continues tonight (Thursday, Dec. 6) with the opening round of junior varsity games. Just like the varsity contests, St. Francis and Lackawanna get the action started at 6 p.m. and then Frontier takes on Hamburg at 7:30 p.m.

The consolation and championship games of the tournament will be played Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7-8. The varsity consolation game between Hamburg and Lackawanna is slated for 6 p.m. and the championship game pitting Frontier and Lackawanna will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The next day, the junior varsity consolation contest will get the afternoon started at noon with the championship tilt to follow.

All games are at Frontier Central High School on 4432 Bayview Road in Hamburg. Admission is $2 for each set of two games and includes a program. Children under 12 will be admitted free.
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