News  > Greece Arcadia vs. Niagara - Regionals



Democrat and Chronicle

Niagara Falls too big for Arcadia in state regional

Staff writer

(March 15, 2004) — BUFFALO — When Brendon Meier swished his fifth 3-pointer Sunday afternoon, those thoughts of an upset he entertained earlier came back to him.

Meier and his Greece Arcadia teammates were down by eight points to Niagara Falls, a team in the process of making the Class AA state tournament quarterfinals an annual part of its schedule of games.

There was plenty of time remaining in the fourth quarter. The Titans were positioned to maybe beat another talented bunch who couldn’t lose, so to speak, until Niagara Falls ran off to a 76-60 win in front of 3,470 people at HSBC Arena.

“They got a couple of steals and fast breaks,” Meier said after he scored a team-high 20 points for Arcadia in the state regional. “That was tough to stop. They were quicker.

DANESE KENON staff photographer
Greece Arcadia’s Chris Greene glides past three Niagara Falls defenders to put up a shot at HSBC Arena Sunday in the state regional final. Green scored 19 points in the Titans’ loss.

“I thought we could run with them. We kept up with them pretty good.”

A 13-6 spurt by the Wolverines (23-2) turned the 59-51 lead the Section VI (Buffalo-area) champions had into a 15-point cushion on the scoreboard with 1:56 remaining.

Niagara Falls, which advanced to the state quarterfinals for the third time in four years, will play Section VIII’s Uniondale next weekend in Glens Falls.

Division I major college prospect Paul Harris and his older cousin, Robert Harris, paced Niagara Falls against Arcadia with 27 and 26 points, respectively.

Paul Harris, a 6-foot-4 forward rated among the nation’s top players in the junior class, also finished with 15 rebounds.

“They were a lot bigger than us and shot the ball well,” Arcadia guard Adam Blanchard said. “They extended their (3-2) zone very far, which hurt us.

“We didn’t get much production from our big men because they were a lot bigger. That hurt us.”

While Niagara Falls junior center Franklin Jones played a limited role in the Wolverines’ offense, he took up a huge amount of space as a 6-11 defender.

Jones towered over Arcadia’s center, a rare circumstance for the 6-6 John Roberts. The Niagara Falls frontcourt at times included 6-7 sophomore Tyrell Lynch to play with the 6-4 Harris duo.

Arcadia’s most reliable source of points came from the pull-up jump shots, drives to the baskets and floaters by point guard Chris Greene, who finished with 19 points.

“He’s a very good player; I played against him in AAU,” Paul Harris said. “I told my friend (and teammate) Greg Gamble that he would have a hard time guarding him.

“We knew they never gave up, we watched a tape of them against Rush-Henrietta. They just kept coming (in that state qualifier).”

No other Titans besides Meier and Greene scored in double figures during a night they needed that to happen. Arcadia made 18 of 54 shots (33.3 percent).

“I’m not going to lose sleep, because we took a lot of good shots,” Arcadia coach Roger Klimek said. “We had open 3-pointers.”

So did Robert Harris, who made three of his five 3-pointers during the first two minutes. The first half of the opening quarter was a long-range duel, as Meier also made three 3-pointers.

Niagara Falls held a four-point lead at the end of the quarter, but Greene later scooped in a layup to tie the score 24-24 midway through the second.

Not long after that, Niagara Falls went into its 3-2 zone and almost immediately went on a 13-2 run. The Wolverines led 40-32 at halftime.

“I thought we were in a good position,” Meier said. “They made some shots in the second half.”

The Wolverines pumped up their lead to 14 points during the third quarter, after Roberts had to spend time on the bench with four fouls.

Meier, who finished 6 of 20 shooting, including 5 of 15 from 3-point range, found his touch again early in the fourth quarter. He scored eight points in a row for Arcadia, including two more 3-pointers.

The Titans trailed 59-51 with 6:23 remaining and were within seven points about 35 seconds later after Roberts made a free throw to complete a three-point play.

After James Starks hit a long two-point shot to answer for Niagara Falls, the next eight points for the Wolverines came as a result of steals and the way they charged toward the basket.

Arcadia finished 21-2 after it won its first Section V championship since 1992 and stopped undefeated Rush-Henrietta in a state qualifier.

“They were physical,” Roberts said of the Wolverines. “They were the better team tonight.

“We made a season of it. This the best one we’ve had in awhile.”