UPrep shows out in runaway win over Buffalo East

Kayshawn Ross (No. 3 for UPrep) scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half. (PHOTO: SUE KANE)


IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. – Since head coach Demond Stewart took the helm, UPrep has had one of the tougher schedules in Section V. Saturday afternoon at the Bishop Kearney Showcase, the Griffins matched up with an out-of-area opponent for the fourth time in six games.

“It just gets us mentally ready,” Stewart explained, referring to sectionals. “We can play against teams over here and then don’t get pushed. I just love to see our guys get challenged. I’d rather play the toughest teams that are out there because you want to see what your guys can do against them.”

View more Sue Kane photos here.

Stewart’s squad was up to the challenge as they put together a late run to pull away from Buffalo East (VI), 84-71, to improve their season record to 5-1.

Leading 55-51 late in the third quarter, the senior duo of Na’Zea Fowlks and Kayshawn Ross ignited an 18-4 run with eight points apiece. Ross made a pair of foul shots and three layups. Fowlks had a putback and two long-range shots.

Melvin Council, Jr. threw down a slam as part of the run. The senior forward exploded for a game-high 30 points, including 11 in the third quarter. Four of Council’s 10 made field goals from inside the arc were fastbreak dunks. The 6-foot-3 forward scored seven in the first quarter and six in both the second and final periods as well.

“I got to put on for my city,” Council, Jr. commented.

“He’s just a good kid,” Sewart said about Council, Jr. “His grades are phenomenal. Good role model. Everyone knows he’s a talented young man.”

Fowlks and Ross netted 20 points apiece. Fowlks scored 10 in both halves and knocked down four shots from beyond the arc. Ross glided his way to 13 second-half points in which UPrep outscored Buffalo East, 47-37.

“We got lucky with the core guys we got,” Stewart said. “Just long, athletic. Everybody can dribble the basketball.”

Christian Edwards (5), James Matthews II (4), Brandon Moore, Jr. (3) and Jaden Simms (1) rounded out the scoring for the Griffins.

For the game, UPrep forced 37 missed field goals and 16 turnovers in 76 possessions.

“We changed up different defensive sets,” Stewart said. “Sometimes, we’ll go full-court press. Sometimes, we go half-court press. Sometimes, we even change up the lineups and put the small guys in because they’re so active. They got the dog in them. Everybody played phenomenal on the defensive side.”

“Going to the second quarter, we did a 2-2-1 press. They started turning the ball over. We started trapping like crazy. Getting easy steals. They started thinking a little bit and then got into foul trouble. Just different variations. Sometimes, we go man-to-man and jump.”

For Buffalo East, Dontaye Miller scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the first half. The senior forward collected six rebounds, three assists and a steal. Miller connected on 7-of-7 free throws as well.

Danny Carter and Jeremy McKitchen netted 12 apiece. Carter scored 10 first-half points along with six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block. McKitchen had 10 second-half points, seven boards and three assists as well.

Jaiden Green and David Hughes each scored eight points and hauled down nine rebounds. Tynell Ruffins (7), Lawson Carter (5) and Kevin Jackson (2) rounded out the scoring for the Panthers.

UPrep will match up with reigning NYS Far West Regional champion, Niagara Falls, Sunday at 3:30 p.m. back at Bishop Kearney. Buffalo East’s next game is January 3rd against Emerson (VI). Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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