By PATRICK WALSH
RUSH, N.Y. — Sawyer Devoe and Haden Abbott combined for 39 points as Avoca/Prattsburgh emphatically cemented their return to the state semifinal, defeating Panama (VI) 67-35 in the NYS Class D Far West Regional at Rush-Henrietta High School, Saturday.
“They played like they’ve been here before, and we talk about all the time the constants that need to happen with the defense and the rebounds. The offensive stuff with the group of kids we’ve got we’re fortunate the offensive stuff takes care of itself,” said Avoca/Prattsburgh head coach Brian Putnam.
The stingy Titans’ defense forced 16 turnovers and scored 22 points off them. Avoca/Prattsburgh did not allow a double-digit scoring quarter until the final stanza.
The Titans have been here before. In the 2022 campaign, they finished a perfect 27-0 en route to their state title.
Avoca/Prattsburgh started the game on a 14-2 run and never looked back. Sawyer Devoe led the scoring for the Titans with 21 points. The senior forward notched his 1,000th point with a pull-up jumper in the first quarter. Devoe converted 10 field goals, with nine coming inside the arc.
Putnam emphasized how important it is to start off on the right foot.
“It’s really nice. I think that gives us the ability to settle in a little bit. When your first couple shots go I think it makes the kids comfortable and just allows us to get into a better flow offensively.”
Haden Abbott finished with a double-double grabbing 12 rebounds and nailing six shots totaling 18 points, including a four-point play two minutes into the second half. Jamel Crowder hit three 3-pointers and a free-throw to finish with 10. Macoy Putnam (8), Evan Campbell (4), Josiah Stilson (2), Dayton Putnam (2) and Collin Hammond (2) all contributed to the winning effort.
Putnam explained how returning to the state semifinals was a goal for them coming into this season.
“They treat that as business as usual. I think that is a great mentality to have; I think that kind of helps you from looking ahead and looking past things for sure.”
Panama’s offense was led by Bryce Hinsdale, who knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points. Jordan Mescall finished with 10, six of which came via the three-ball. Gabe Roth (4), Brandon Keefe (3) and Tate Catanese (2) rounded out the scoring for the Panthers.
Avoca/Prattsburgh advances to the NYS Class D semifinal and will face Hamilton (III).
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