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High School Boys Basketball: N. Collins getting assortment of contributions during 5-1 start

Senior Jared Bauerlein is second on the team in scoring with 13 points per game to help North Collins get out to a 5-1 start to the season. (File photo courtesy of Ron Larson)

While production may continue to come from some usual sources, others have stepped up to help lead North Collins to a 5-1 start to the season.

Jared Keppel has continued his torrid pace from last season, averaging 28 points and 12 rebounds over the six games, while returning starter Jared Bauerlein is second on the team in scoring with 13 points per game.

What’s added to the excitement for this season is that senior guards Jordan and Jaden Keough have stepped up into play-making roles, while senior first-year forwards Hawk Horschel and Andrew Kuczkowski have turned into contributors at forward with junior David Fera just getting back into action after being sick. Also, guard/forward Todd Youngman, a returning starter, has missed time with a concussion.

“We’ve had a rough stretch of games before Christmas but a lot of different kids have stepped up with us having some sickness and injury,” North Collins second-year head coach Rob Catalino said. “Some of these guys have really stepped up and earned minutes. It gives us a little more depth than we’re used to.”

North Collins has beaten Forestville twice, by 10 and eight points, and West Valley twice and bounced back from its only loss this season to Gowanda to beat the non-league foe in a rematch. The wins against Forestville look even more impressive now that Forestville has beaten a tough Panama team early this season. The Eagles are 2-0 in CCAA Division IV play.

Keppel has a season-high of 34 points and scored no less than 20 in any game so far as the senior attempts to close in on 1,000 points for his career. “He’s really started where he left off last year,” noted Catalino of Keppel, who finished second in Western New York last season averaging around 23 points.

Bauerlein recorded a career-high 21 points in North Collins latest win, 65-50 over West Valley on Dec. 17. Jaden Keough notched a career-high 20 points in the Eagles’ eight-point win at Forestville on Dec. 10. Jordan Keough also had seven points in that game. The brothers are reaping the benefits of playing against some tough guards in the Hamburg Recreation League during the offseason, according to Catalino.

Horschel and Kuzkowski have provided crucial minutes playing in the post and will be needed components for the team going forward in order to provide Keppel with a rest from time to time, according to their coach.

Before the Christmas break, the Eagles will travel to Ripley on Dec. 21 before hosting cross-town rival Lake Shore on the evening of Friday, Dec. 28 which will be a fundraising game for a cause to be chosen.
Senior Brandon Jewett shows off his hops while on defense in Frontier’s 67-48 victory at West Seneca West. (Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)

Elsewhere, Frontier opened ECIC Division I play with a 67-48 win over West Seneca West on Friday (Dec. 14). The Falcons, who improved to 3-1, won a tough road game playing against what head coach Gary Domzalski called a very physical and veteran West team. West was whistled for 32 fouls, three intentional fouls, and three of its players fouled out.

Leading 22-21 at the half, Frontier dominated the third quarter during a 22-6 run. Junior David Rajski led Frontier with 19 points, while senior Brandon Jewett hit 4 of 4 three-pointers for 12 points and Tyger German added 11. Fellow senior Kevin Marcinkowski recorded a school record 14 assists.

In the game prior, Frontier ran away with an 81-18 win over Dunkirk on Dec. 11 behind German’s 15 points and 10 points and seven rebounds from junior Pat Quinlivan. Marcinkowski added 10 assists.

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