Ever since the Silver Creek Black Knights fell to OTC Middle College, 58-57, in the Section 6 Class C crossover game at Buffalo State last year, the Black Knights have had today's date circled on their calendar.
Tonight at 5:30 p.m., the two teams are back at Buffalo State on the same stage with a chance to advance to the Far West Regionals next week in Rochester.
"We wanted that matchup and assumed it would be us against them," Silver Creek coach Rob Genco said. "It's easy to say, but so much has to happen. That's what we wanted. We were excited we would have another shot. The guys we have on this team, this might be the one year we can compete and have a chance to win."
Silver Creek’s Zeddie Williams will have the task of guarding OTC?Middle College’s Keir Anderson tonight in the Section 6 Class C crossover championship game at Buffalo?State.
Getting a win will be no easy task as the Kats are led by senior point guard Keir Anderson, who averages 21.6 points per game, Kevin Briggs (16.8 points per game) and Bri'an Brown (13 points per game).
"Anderson is one of the better players in Western New York," Genco said. "He is that good and that special. He has the ability to rise and hang in the air. It's fun to watch the stuff he has been able to do. Their athleticism will present us a lot of problems."
Just as Genco has done all season, he will put Zeddie Williams on the opponent's best player in Anderson.
"Zeddie is special also. What he is able to do for us, people don't realize what he did by shutting down (Portville's Zack) Blask in the C-1 title game. Zeddie can run with him and he can make it a long night for anybody on any team. Again, I told Zeddie, if we shut Anderson down, we win. Zeddie is up for the challenge. I will take him over anyone. I don't think people realize what he is as far as an athlete. We aren't going in intimidated. We are confident and prepared. We like our chances."
Meanwhile, Silver Creek's Billy Brooks will have the task of trying to slow down Brown, who had a big game for OTC last year in the Class C Championship game.
"He had a nice spin move in the lane that tied us up last year," Genco recalled. "He has a real nice shot. We didn't have a big guy last year. That's what we lacked last year. Brooks is going to be big. I think he's going to do what he has been doing."
With Silver Creek's up-tempo style of basketball matched against OTC's fast-paced game, many are expecting tonight's contest to look more like a track meet. And though Genco's team did not play any league opponents who compare to OTC, Silver Creek's non-league schedule helped prepare the Black Knights for tonight.
"We played Tapestry and Olmstead," he said. "I think we have played teams faster. They have two kids that are special. I think we have five better players, but they have two special players."
Win or lose, Genco knows the better team will prevail tonight and his team is well ready.
"We aren't going to be out-worked," he declared. "We watched a lot of film. This time I think we are more ready. We have been watching them all year. Our whole team went out and watched them play. We know their tendencies. We know who likes to drive and who likes to shoot. We are prepared."