OLEAN, NY – The Olean Huskies (9-5, 4-3) were able to complete the season sweep of the Southwestern Trojans (3-11, 2-4) Thursday night, winning the third-and-final matchup between the two rivals 62-47 in their home gym.
The Huskies’ leading scorer, senior guard Covi James, returned true to form with 22 points in the victory, matching his season average. James had been held to just 10 points in his team’s previous game, against Chautauqua Lake, as early foul trouble and a technical limited his minutes.
“It was huge because not only did he have a bounce-back game, but he did so while still playing within himself,” Olean’s coach, Tim Kolasinski said. “In a lot of ways, he let the game come to him.”
Kolasinski, in his first year taking over for legendary coach Jeff Anastasia, has led his squad to its first three-game winning streak of the season.
“It’s maturity,” Kolasinski said of his team’s newfound confidence. “We were very inexperienced coming into the season with only three returning seniors, and earlier this year, pushback from opposing teams would have bothered us. Now, we’re able to take a timeout, take a breath and figure things out.”
Three-point shooting has been a key to the Huskies’ success this season, as they knocked down six shots from beyond the arc in Thursday night’s win. However, the three-point shooting didn’t open up until Olean found early success inside from senior center Dan Klein, who had 10 of his 12 points by halftime.
“It’s like football,” Kolasinski said. “If you want to pass the ball, you’ve got to be able to run it every once in a while. I think when we work the ball inside to Dan a little bit, it collapses the defense and our shooters can get even better looks.”
The Huskies' first three-game winning streak of the season couldn’t have come at a better time. Two of Olean’s next three games come against the league’s premier teams: Fredonia and Allegany-Limestone.
“Those are the two top teams in our league, and we lost our first game to each of them,” Kolasinski said. “They’re very good teams, but I think we’re knocking on the door, and my guys are very excited to be able to show that in those upcoming matchups.”
Olean will host Hilton High (7-5) for a non-conference date set to tip off this Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
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