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Sunday, March 3, 2019: Olean's Anastasia wins 600th basketball game

   Leading off today: Olean defeated Buffalo City Honors 61-48 for the Section 6 boys Class B-1 basketball championship on Saturday, in the process presenting Huskies coach Jeff Anastasia with career win No. 600.

   The sectional title was Olean's 11th in 13 seasons and the win raised Anastasia's record to 600-138 in 32 seasons. The leap from 500 to 600 wins happened in a span of just 108 games.

   "I talked to my team the other day," Anastasia said. "I said, 'I know you saw in the newspaper that it said the next win would be my 600th win.' I said, 'It's not about me, it's never been about me. This is all about you guys winning the sectional championship and adding to your legacy.'"

   Anastasia has said a couple of years ago during his induction into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame that this season would be his last, but the death of his wife Barb last January may change that plan.

   Mike Schmidt contributed 13 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds to the win. Matt Droney had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

   Olean's season continues Tuesday with a state tournament qualifier against Class B-2 champ Allegany-Limestone.

   Waiting no longer: Belfast's 79-year wait for its next Section 5 boys basketball championship ended with a 60-55 win over Prattsburgh to capture the Class D2 title.

   "It's a lot more special. It was a nice win in my junior year for soccer, but knowing that I'm not going to be here with this small family again after this year, to do this, it would be awfully special for me,” Bulldogs senior Adam Enders said. "Not winning a title since 1940 was definitely in our discussion as the year went on. We were looking up at the banner, and we noticed only one number on that banner. We knew that we wanted to make history."

   Enders finished with a game-high 34 points to go along with 11 rebounds.

    • Lewiston-Porter ended a 41-year championship drought by defeating Amherst 51-40 in the Section 6 Class A-2 final. Trent Scott scored 21 points and freshman Roddy Gayle chipped in with 20 points.

   Lancers coach Matt Bradshaw was a ball boy for Lew-Port when they last won sectionals in 1978.

   Lew-Port and West Seneca West will meet Tuesday for a berth in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A quarterfinals.

    • Saratoga, which broke a 30-year drought when it won a Section 2 title in 1988, ended a 31-year dry spell by downing Bethlehem 69-58 for the Class AA trophy.


   "I didn't want to lay all that (history) on them, like that I was 5 years old and didn't even know what basketball was," Saratoga coach Matt Usher said with a smile of his program's last championship. "But I am sure we will be talking about it."

   Aidan Holmes paced the win with 23 points, six rebounds and five assists.

   More boys basketball: Niagara Falls freshman star Willie Lightfoot scored 39 points, including a clutch 3-pointer at the end of regulation, as the Wolverines beat Williamsville North 72-64 for their fourth straight Section 6 Class AA championship.

   "I didn't want to lose, that was it," said Lightfoot, who scored 32 points after halftime. "I don't like losing. I'm a winner."

   North held a 63-60 lead with :08.4 to go and opted not to foul. Lightfoot accepted the challenge by hitting a long 3-pointer that dropped through the hoop with :00.7 on the clock.

   "I really thought that was the right play at the time," Williamsville North coach Chuck Swierski said. "We really didn't even discuss it in the huddle. We forced the kid into a really tough shot that not a whole lot of players make ... but they've got the one that did."

   Left out of his sport: Cruz Vernon didn't get the opportunity to compete in the NYSPHSAA gymnastics championships Saturday a year after placing 17th in the floor exercise as a freshman.

   Section 1 ruled the Ossining gymnast could be an exhibition-only athlete this season. His routines were scored but were not counted in meets.

   The Journal News reported more than 2,200 people signed a petition this winter asking State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia to intervene.

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