Funk helps will Clarence past Lockport to Buffalo State
Funk scored 13 of his game-high 33 points in the final quarter and the Red Devils escaped a pesky Lockport team for a 65-54 victory on Friday (Feb. 22) night in a Class AA sectional quarterfinal game at Clarence High School.
"We were just not going to lose, that's what was going through my mind," Funk said. "We're going to Buff State, 100 percent."
Clarence closed the game on a 15-2 run after the Lions had rallied from 12 points down to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Funk put the Red Devils ahead to stay with a 3-pointer with 3:15 to play and then buckets by Bobby Florio and Tanner Schmit extended the lead. Clarence put the game away from the free throw line as Funk and Bryan Jost were a combined 8-for-8 from the stripe in the final two minutes.
"We just didn't quit," Clarence coach Todd Banaszak said. "This is a special group of guys. They weren't going to quit. They wanted it; they wanted to get to that next game. It's awesome. They earned it."
The Red Devils will play Jamestown on Thursday (Feb. 28) at Buffalo State’s Alumni Arena. The top-seeded Red Raiders knocked off West Seneca West on Friday night.
“It’s not done yet,” Funk said. “We have to work hard at Buff State and win some games.”
Funk, who scored a career-high 37 against Lancaster in Clarence's regular-season finale on Feb. 12, hit seven 3-pointers against the Lions – including five in the second half. He scored seven points in the game-clinching rally.
Schmit added 19 points for Clarence. He scored 17 points in the first half and helped the Red Devils build a 31-24 lead.
"In the first half, I was pulling half those shots out of nowhere," the sophomore said with a smile.
The Red Devils extended the lead to 41-29 with four minutes left in the third quarter, but the Lions weren't done. Lockport closed the third period on a 10-0 run and then grabbed the lead on a three-point play by Daniel Bronson early in the fourth. The teams repeatedly exchanged the lead in a wild fourth quarter until Clarence's final run.
“They shot the ball very well,” Lockport coach Dave Gilson said of Clarence. “We tried to defend the best we could but we couldn't seem to get the stops when we needed stops. We turned it over a couple times down the stretch and that turned out to be very costly.”