Basketball Notebook: Sayre's Lane shines one last time.
By: Chris Manning | Towanda Daily Review | March 31, 2019
2019 NTL and District 4 News
By: Chris Manning | Towanda Daily Review | March 31, 2019
Sayre's Camry Lane showed off one more time just what she could do on the basketball court.
In the third quarter alone Lane's skills were on the full display: driving to the basket, hitting runners and nailing 3-balls. Her offensive outburst led the East to a 54-34 win.
"It felt great, especially since it's such a fun game," Lane said. "It's definitely a great game to end my career on."
"We knew they had a couple of play makers," Lane remarked. "Emma, obviously, she's a great player, and Heidi, she was hitting a lot of outside shots. Mainly we wanted to collapse the middle on Emma so she couldn't drive."
The East did that defensively with Lane taking over at the other end.
"When it gets to the end of the game we all got a little bit competitive," said Lane. "We wanted to win so I just had the same mindset. I just wanted to get to the basket."
There was also a bit of feeling out for the East as they featured players from six of the seven schools in Bradford County.
"At first it was a little awkward," explained Lane. "We didn't now where to move, but were all great friends. We all have different skills so when you mix it together it's really fun basketball."
She also got to share the court with fellow senior Steph Klovekorn one more time.
Steph and I, four years together," said Lane. "We won a lot and we've been through a lot together, so we were just saying it felt great to come off the court together one last time."
Especially since it ended in a win.
Athens' Aric Westbrook and Wellsboro's Brandyn Tuttle have been AAU teammates for the past several years.
But during the winter they are on two teams that are battling for the NTL title.
The Senior game marked the final time they would officially share a court together — either as opponents or as teammates.
"We're good buddies," said Westbrook. "We play all year round together. This is the first time we haven't been able to play in the spring so it was real nice to come out and play him."
"I was telling Aric coming into the game that he better be ready because I'm going to lock him down," Tuttle added.
Of course two friends can't share a court without some good natured banter between the two.
Westbrook started while Tuttle came off the bench, with little overlap in the first half, so the barbs mostly came from the bench. Tuttle's first shot once he got on the court was blocked, which brought Westbrook to his feet to remind him.
"It was fun," said Westbrook. "We were going back and forth the whole time."
Both were on the court to start the second half and that's when Tuttle got his revenge. He took Westbrook down into the paint for a few buckets — post moves and offensive boards — which helped the West get separation in their 77-53 win.
"He always trash talks," remarked Tuttle. "I think I backed it up a little bit more on the court."
The Hornet put in 11 points and nine boards while Westbrook had eight points, three rebounds and three assists in the contest.
"It means everything," Westbrook said about sharing the floor one more time with Tuttle. "Just to come out and play a game that I enjoy so much."
Tuttle felt the same way.
"It's super fun," he said. "We play all the time in pick up but it feels good to play against him here on a supervised court."
Basketball players spend their entire careers dreaming of hitting a buzzer beating half court shot.
Everybody practices it...usually on their own time but it's a you never know kind of thing so you better be prepared.
Towanda's Cearra McLinko got to live the dream as she hit a nearly 3-quarters court shot at the end of the game in the East's win over the West.
"It was crazy," said McLinko. "I didn't think it was going in. I've always practiced them in practice and it just happened."
Of course the East was going to win either way but it is still a heck of a way to end a career.
Throughout her tenure at Towanda McLinko has been know to hit a few threes — she led the team with over 30 this year — so for her last make to be a 3-pointer was fitting.
"It was good," she said about her final game. "But it's weird that it's my last high school game."
She also enjoyed playing with some of her rivals through the years — especially Sayre's Camry Lane.
"I don't like playing against them as much," said McLinko. "Being on the same court on the same team is great."
Every senior class has its personality and this year's West class was big.
North Penn-Mansfield center Dylan Meyer goes 6-foot, 5-inches while Wellsboro's duo of Andrew Brelo (6-foot, 6-inches) and Brandyn Tuttle (6-foot, 3-inches) are also intimidating.
Add in North Penn-Liberty's Logan Horsley (6-foot, 3-inches) and it was always going to be tough for the East to match-up.
"Coming into the game today it was like — 'dang, we've got some size,'" remarked Tuttle. "It was going to be fun."
The four combined for 46 points and 26 rebounds in the win, led by Meyer's 15 points, six boards and two blocks.
"I'm always going to play as hard as I can and I just got lucky today," remarked Meyer.
Along with playing with the West's best Meyer also got to lace it up with three of his longtime teammates.
"I'm never going to be able to play with those guys again," said Meyer. "It's a great experience to play with each other one more time."
He also liked having the others on the team despite some of their history of chippy league games.
"There's some kids, you don't like playing against them but you don't mind playing with them," Meyer said.
However, despite the size, there were no dunks in the senior game, which has been a highlight of past exhibition games.
"We tried to get some dunks," Tuttle remarked. "We couldn't get any tonight."
Brelo had the best chance on a breakaway late in the game but he couldn't get high enough and laid it in.
"He said he was completely gassed," said Tuttle.
NEB's Aaliyah Bevacqua had quite the final showing in her NTL curtain call.
She had a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards to go with three assists and three steals.
Bevacqua did everything — hounding the offensive board, finishing shots in the paint and being everywhere on the defense — pretty much what she did every game for NEB.
"It's a pretty nice accomplishment," she said about double-double. "I've had a couple double-doubles in my career and to finish out my career with another double-double is nice."
As for the secret of her success...call it instinctual.
"I just go where I need to be," Bevacqua explained. "And the ball lands in my hands."
She also enjoyed teaming up different players from across Bradford County.
"It's nice to actually be able to play with them," she said. "I go against them all season and to actually play with them and their talent...it's a nice feeling."
Bevacqua will be moving on to play at Penn College next year and feels content with how her career went at Northeast.
"It's sad but it's been a good four years," she explained. "I'm happy with what I've accomplished in my four years and I'm ready to go to college and play ball."
North Penn-Mansfield's Jayden Andrews had the rare 5-5-5 stat at the Senior game: five rebounds, five assists and five steals.
The Tiger has been doing things like that his whole career — he may have the quickest swipe in the league — and he wasn't going to change a thing his final time on the court.
"It's just what I try to do every time I go out there," he remarked.
Even though this is just an exhibition contest the senior couldn't wait to team with rivals and take on the East at Mansfield University.
"It's a real honor," Andrews said about playing in the game. "You always look forward to it when you're a freshman, sophomore and junior. Then, when you're a senior, you finally get to do it."
He especially liked being on the same as Wellsboro players Brandyn Tuttle, Andrew Brelo and Holden Kennedy. They've played in some fierce league games so playing together is a way to bury the hatchet.
"That was actually pretty nice to be on their team instead of them being on the opposing team," said Andrews.
Wellsboro's Emma Poirier and Heidi Zuchowski have done a lot together.
They won an NTL Division-I and NTL Showdown title this year and, as freshmen, were on the team when they made a District IV final.
"Sad but it was fun," Zuchowski said about playing in their final game. "We both tried hard and just had fun."
Teammate Dani Hunt also joined them for the game.
"I'm going to miss playing with them," said Poirier. "I enjoyed playing with them, we all have a good bond."
They also enjoyed playing with the other NTL West girls.
"It's fun playing with all the girls you usually go against," remarked Poirier. "Like meeting with them and seeing who they are you realize you aren't that much different, you're more alike and it's just fun."
"We just went out there and had a lot of fun," added Zuchowski.
The two played well with Poirier netting 10 points while Zuchowski came close to a double-double behind eight points and nine rebounds, including two 3-balls.
"It's nice to know other people out there and know their abilities so you can do more things and work together to get more shots off," explained Zuchowski.
That helped them take a first half 5-point lead.
"The first half we played a lot better and we didn't give them second chances," Poirier remarked. "We hustled a lot more. The second half showed that we are out of shape."
Sayre's Camry Lane took over in the third quarter and the rest is history. "She's fun to go against," added Poirier. "I've gone up against her ever since I was a freshman. She's a good player, I respect her."
Despite the loss they got a lot out of the experience.
"We got to know a lot more about each other that we didn't know," said Zuchowski. "And we just gave it our all. It was our last game for all of us."
Not only did they play with some of their rivals they also played for Jason Dominick, coach of their rivals North Penn-Mansfield. He was one of the two coaches on the team, the other being Wellsboro's Maureen Poirier.
"He was really fun," Zuchowski said. "He brought a lot of spirit and energy to the team."
Dominick is known for his exuberant personality on the sidelines.
"He always calls me out when I play against him," said Poirier with a smile. "I made jokes with him saying 'are you going to call me for travels and everything.' We made a joke out of it but it was fun playing for him."