“Battle at the Border” lives up to its billing


American High Schools take three out of the four games

By: David Yarger

            NIAGARA FALLS, NY- The 2017 edition of the “Battle at the Border” did not disappoint. The four games played Saturday were action-packed and had a fair share of tremendous performances.

Throughout the day at Niagara Falls High School, games went down to the wire, and teams were countering each other, shot after shot.

Some players set career highs for points and the scoring record for the tournament was also broken. From the first tip, to the last whistle, fans inside the “Wolvearena” were entertained by the amount of talent on display.

The action started with the St. Josephs Marauders playing the Notre Dame Irish from Welland, Ontario.

Players of the Game, Braidon Moore and Naseer Jackson with Niagara Falls Head Coach Sal Constantino

St. Josephs Marauders (65) v. Notre Dame Irish (52)

Notre Dame, playing with only seven players, kept the game close throughout. They went into halftime trailing 30-28.

Braidon Moore led the Irish with 17 points, and won Player of the Game honors for Notre Dame. Jonah Gruarin and Alex Root chipped in 13 and 9, respectively.

St. Joes was able to extend the lead late in the game, and they held on to win, 65-52.

Marauders’ Player of the Game Naseer Jackson led his team with 17 points, while Jack Capen added 16 and Caleb Cockrell chipped in 14.


St. Francis Catholic Phoenix (66) v. Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons (65)

In what many would say was the game of the day, the contest did not lack entertainment. Niagara Wheatfield got off to a hot start, leading 22-15 at halftime.

In the second half, N-W extended the lead as high as 15.

The Phoenix showed some power in the second half, coming back to cut the lead to one at the end of the third quarter, 40-39.

The fourth quarter is where a battle ensued.

Wheatfield eighth-grader Jalen Bradberry and St. Francis’ Jack Riddell began to exchange 3-pointers. If Bradberry made a three, Riddell made a three. Bradberry made as many as four-in-a-row, on his way to 10 3-pointers on the day. Most were well beyond the three-point line.

The Phoenix missed their free throws late in the game, giving the Falcons another chance.

After a missed three by Bradberry, Anthony Ruffino was fouled and went to the line to shoot two free-throws, down 66-64. The first one was good, the second was not. St. Francis held on and came back to win, 66-65.

For the Falcons, Bradberry received Player of the Game honors, shattering the tournament scoring record and his own personal record with 38 points.

For St. Francis, Riddell received the Player of the Game honors with 29 points, including seven 3-pointers.


Players of the Game, Victor Kariuki and Jason Hawkes

Aquinas Institute (44) v. St. Paul Patriots (35)

In the third game of the tournament, offense was a struggle for both teams.

Aquinas was up 16-3 at the end of the first quarter, and then 31-13 at halftime.

They were led by Player of the Game winner, Jason Hawkes, who had 14 points and 18 rebounds. Jalen Pickett led the team in scoring, with 16 points.

St. Paul creeped closer in the fourth and made the game seem closer than it was, but the defending state champs held on to win 44-35.

For the Patriots, Victor Kariuki won Player of the Game, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.


Players of the Game, Caswell Falconer and Tyler Sanders

Niagara Falls Wolverines (94) v. Sir Allan MacNab (54)

In the finale, the home Wolverines led throughout the game and never looked back. By halftime they were up 51-23.

Tyler Sanders had 17 points at half, on his way to a career-high 31 points. He took home Player of the Game honors for the Falls. Cortese Myles also chipped in 16 for the Wolverines.

All eight active players scored for the Falls in the 94-54 route.

For MacNab, Caswell Falconer was a bright spot, winning Player of the Game with 17 points. Nathan Hare also added 10 points for the team.

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