Maryvale upends Cheektowaga in Battle of Union Road
If the Flyers have not played their best game of the season yet, we could have a monster on our hands.
Maryvale improved to 7-4 overall and 5-2 in ECIC Division III by running down the street to beat rival Cheektowaga (4-5, 2-4) 67-46 on Tuesday (Jan. 15).
“We always talk about the Battle for Union Road,” said Marvvale coach Mark Kensy. “This is the game that the Cheektowaga kids and Maryvale kids look forward to.”
“As far as I know, Maryvale has always been the biggest rival of the year,” said Cheektowaga coach Pat Cullinan. “And they came in and gave it to us.”
Seniors Max Aikin and Demetri McCallie traded roles on offense in the victory. Aikin, who is the team’s three-point specialist, led the team with six rebounds while scoring his game-high 17 points from inside the arc. McCallie, their resident big man, scored 14 points, including two three-pointers.
“I was shooting more and I was feeling it, so I kept shooting,” said McCallie.
Ed Smith and Tyler Smith scored 10 and seven points, respectively, with most of them coming in a huge 22-point second quarter by the Flyers.
“Toward the end of the first quarter we started getting momentum,” said Aikin. “Once the first quarter was over, I felt like we’d outwork them the whole game. We just had it today. We brought it.”
The Warriors were up 12-5 in the first on a 7-0 run sparked by a deep three-pointer from sophomore Zak Ciezki. After a timeout, Maryvale began a run of their own; 31-10 to head into intermission with a 36-22 lead.
“I don’t think we played our best game tonight,” said Kensy. “We just chipped away, got some baskets and kept building the lead.”
Eighth grader Dominick Welch led the Warriors with 13 points. Ciezki finished the game with 12 and senior Derek Clyburn scored 11 in limited minutes due to a previous injury.
“They were a little short-handed with Clyburn being hurt the way he is,” said Kensy. “We knew we had to control him and keep Zak Cieski and Preston Summers in check.”
Early in the fourth, Cullinan’s full court press sent the Warriors on a 7-0 run to make it a 57-44 game after Ciezki’s third three-pointer of the night, but the Flyers weathered the storm and closed the game.
After the loss, Cheektowaga dropped two of their last three games since placing second at St. Joe’s Holiday Tournament. They return home on Jan, 25 for a shot at a much-needed league win when they host Pioneer.
“Every game in our league is a big game for us, because we can take a game wherever we can get it,” said Cullinan. “You always want to beat Maryvale. It is the Battle of Union Road. It goes back for years. That’s tradition right there.”
Second-place Maryvale will also be home on Jan. 25 as it hosts first-place Amherst, which beat the Flyers the first time around 74-56 (11-1, 8-0). But if the Flyers play to their potential, they feel as if they can beat anyone.
“Knowing that we didn’t play our best game, when we play them at home we can beat them again,” said Aikin. “They’ve had good games against all the other teams in the division, so if we can put together four quarters, we can take them all out.”