Tonawanda News — TONAWANDA – Ben Stich scored 24 points and Tristan Boling added 10 of his own to lead the fourth-seeded Tonawanda Warriors boys basketball team past the No. 12 Alden Bulldogs 41-32 in Section VI Class B-1 quarterfinal action Friday night at Tonawanda High School.
The win, which will send the Warriors (12-7) to the semifinals Tuesday at Buffalo State for the third time in four years, was one of the team’s greatest, according to head coach Hank Hughes.
“Tonight’s win feels unbelievable,” Hughes said. “This is probably one of the biggest wins in our program’s last 50 years or so. To be able to play at Buff State for a third time in four years is huge.”
From the opening tip, the game between turned out to be a showcase of defense and physicality. Neither team was able to score much through the first two quarters, combining for just 27 points while dealing with a barrage of players disrupting the flow of the game by getting rough with one another.
“We missed a ton of open shots and we weren’t too crisp, but we had to dig down and figure out a way to win,” Hughes said. “Sometimes you can get frustrated when shots aren’t going in, but we just had to battle to win this one. Alden’s a tough school, and I expected them to bring that type of mentality tonight. They did, and we needed to keep our poise to come away with the win and we were successful at that.”
“We’re not as talented as we have been in years past, so in order to become a successful team, I think we needed to develop a little more of an edge and put some more grit into our game,” he said. “We’ve really had to work hard and be focused every day in practice to develop that mindset, and it definitely paid off tonight.”