It took a short road trip through the southern tier to rectify recent struggles for a Thundersnow team, which had previously lost four straight. The streak ended in Elmira Thursday night against a red hot Eagles team who had won six straight entering Saturday night.
The game was an extremely important one for the Thundersnow, who hope to keep their playoff hopes alive. The team improved to 6-5 on the season, with eight contests remaining. WNY’s game plan in this one was a simple one, but it worked effectively. The key through out the game was shutting down Eagles leading scorer Vaughn Boler who currently averages 38 points a game. The T-snow contained Boler all night limiting him to 24 points. Norman Smith Elmira’s other star player and an excellent three point shooter was also kept in check. Strong defensive efforts from Guards Johnny Marsh and Derek Cauley prevented Smith from being his usual self.
The win was especially impressive for the Thundersnow, considering the team dressed just seven players for this road contest, compared to Elmira’s 12. WNY ran a fast paced offense through out much of the first quarter, something that was necessary because of the short bench. The Thundersnow put up a whopping 42 first quarter points, the most they have ever scored in an opening quarter ever. Elmira appeared to wake up in the second quarter cutting the lead to nine points, when Assistant Coach Adam Evans called a timeout to settle the troops down. Evans called for the team to lock down on defense for the final two minutes and they did, not allowing another point. It was 65-56 at the half.
In the second half Elmira gained the momentum back mainly because all three Thundersnow forwards began to get into foul trouble. During a Media Time Out in the third quarter Head Coach Donald Felice stressed to his players the need to play smart through out the rest of the game and they did, with all three forwards only committed one foul through out the rest of regulation. The game was tied at the end of regulation at 126. In OT the WNY defense clamped down once again, limiting the Eagles to just five points, while erupting to score fifteen of their own in just a three minute span to preserve the 141-131 victory.
The Thundersnow did a really nice job working the ball in the paint, and being disciplined with their three point shooting only taking long shots when they were uncontested. WNY Forward Anthony Greene had a phenomenal night putting up 37 points, 12 rebounds and 10 Assists. Greene took over the game in overtime and became impossible for the Elmira defense to stop, he led all scorers in the game. All three Thundersnow big men had a strong evening with Jermaine Sharpe also scoring in double figures with 28. Chuck Brundidge a new signee with the team who has previous experience playing in the Elmira area seemed to really provide a jolt to the team both offensively (23 points), and defensively (eight defensive rebounds).
The teams three point aces Johnny Marsh and Derek Cauley played exceptional as usual combining to score 53 points. Marsh had 35, and Cauley 18, all of Cauley’s points came from behind the arc as he registered six three pointers. The 141 points put up by the Thundersnow was another team record. The Thundersnow are in the midst of a three game road trip which continues on Saturday February, 4th Vs. the New Jersey Express, and extends into next week in Boston against the Conquerors February, 11th. – Adam Evans
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