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Falcons avenge last year’s playoff loss, before falling at Jamestown

Jay Bergmann got his team started and his teammates closed the deal. The eighth-seeded Falcons never trailed in the second half as they avenged a loss to West Seneca West, in the same first round game from last year, defeating the ninth-seeded Indians 65 – 53 to advance in the Class AA playoffs.

“I talked to [W.S. West head coach] Dan Chavanne before the game and I said, ‘I feel like its deja vu here,’” said Frontier head coach Gary Domzalski. “I think we’re a little stronger inside this year and they’re not as strong inside. I think we rebounded better. Usually West Seneca West games are like this.”

Bergmann scored or assisted on the Falcons first 17 points before David Rajski sparked a 9 – 0 run to give Frontier a lead they would not relinquish. Rajski scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Falcons, who on an average shooting night, had just a few more balls go through the net than their opponent, which ultimately swung the game.

“That was a fun one,” said Bergmann, who finished with 19 points. “It was a playoff atmosphere and everything. We really stepped up our game in playoff time, so it was a big win.”

Frontier was able to take advantage of its size and attack the post, scoring multiple buckets in the paint, something they game-planned for, coming into the game.

“It was a great team effort,” said Rajski. “We just wanted to come out firing. We didn’t want a repeat of last year. We wanted to work the inside on offense ... and work it around the outside and just fight and attack at them and play good defense.”

Senior A.J. Licata stuffed the stat sheet in nearly every category. He scored 13 points, pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds and dished out 5 assists. He also took two charges, something that doesn’t show up in the box score.

Ahead by nine, midway through the third quarter, the Falcons gained their largest lead of the game at 15, resulting from two Licata free throws and two layups from 6-foot-4 senior Pat Quinlivan.

Seniors Chris Walker and Nick Clancy did their best to keep the Indians in the game with 34 points between the two of them. Walker scored a team-high 21 points but the second quarter run was too much for the road team to overcome.

“We were proud of their effort,” said Chavanne, West’s head coach. “We would’ve liked a few more shots to fall…a couple rimmed out shots. A couple little mental mistakes. But the effort was there...Frontier, they deserved it; they played just a little better than us.”

Frontier’ season ended two nights later, at 8-12, in a 71-53 loss at top-seeded Jamestown on Feb. 21. Domzalski said the game was closer than the final would indicate, as the Falcons trailed only 32-28 at halftime and 53-42 after three.

“Our players did a great job of handling the tempo and handling the Jamestown press,” noted Domzalski, whose team lost 79-49 and 66-44 to Jamestown during the regular season.
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