Marcus Whitman boys stunned in Avon as Braves win Class C1 title in overtime thriller

Head coach Greg O’Conner and his Marcus Whitman Wildcats have battled throughout the 2021 season in a tough Finger Lakes East regular season and as road warriors throughout the play-offs. They opened sectional play with a trip to Gananda before defeating the top seed Lyons in the Atwood Gymnasium. They would hit the road again to face defending Class B2 sectional champion Avon at Avon High School in the Section V Class C1 Boys Championship Game late on Saturday afternoon.

The Wildcats were also defending a championship having won their first sectional title since 1976 a year ago. It was the third straight championship game appearance for Marcus Whitman, which lost to C.G. Finney in 2019 and defeated Red Jacket for the championship in Class C1 last season. All five senior starters for Whitman were key contributors on the 2019-20 team and a second sectional banner would have been the ideal culmination of their successful high school basketball careers. In sports, as in life, however, not every tale has a storybook ending.

Marcus Whitman would jump out to an early lead that they would hold for the entire first half until a late 2nd quarter push gave Avon a 25-24 halftime lead.

Whitman would come out and regain the lead which would change hands multiple times before the Wildcats took control holding a 5 point lead with just 16 seconds remaining in the ball game.

On a an inbound play, Avon junior big man Zach Colvin would cut the deficit to 3 points with 14 seconds remaining. Avon would have to give multiple fouls to reach the bonus before sending Whitman to the free throw line with just over 7 seconds remaining. After a missed front end of a one-and-one, Avon would rebound and the ball would end up in the hands of senior Jaden Courtemanche who throw in an improbable 25 foot deseration heave to send the game into overtime. It was Courtemanche’s first basket of the game and one that will be rememberd in Avon, as well as Whitman, for some time.

Check out the final 7 seconds of regulation from Batavia Daily News’ broadcast:

In overtime, Avon was able to build a lead and ultimately hold on for a 61-56 win and capture the Section V Class C1 title.

In a close game, free throws are always important and that was the main thing that stood out in the score book as Avon went 13-15 while Whitmas was just 1-7 from the charity stripe.

Ryan Herod led the Wildcats with 17 points, including four 3-pointers before fouling out late in the contest, and Noah Hildreth and Jordan Lahue each scored 12.

Freshman Michael Rowland led Avon with 19 points while Zach Colvin scored 17 and junior Andrew Rowland scored 13.