PA boys get big win over NY in Big 30 Senior Classic

PA boys get big win over NY in Big 30 Senior Classic

By: Spencer Bates | Olean Times Herald | March 25, 2024 | Photo courtesy Paul Burdick

PORTVILLE - While it may have been a one-sided affair, the Big 30 Senior Classic provided a special opportunity for the brightest stars on opposite sides of the New York/Pennsylvania border to shine one final time.

On the day, it was the Pennsylvania boys all-star team that ended up running away with the contest, having won by a 135-71 score over its New York counterparts. And it was from the first whistle, the PA boys imposed their will having started off the game on a 13-0 run.

Warren's Brady Berdine finished with a game-high 27 points along with 12 rebounds and seven assists while Otto-Eldred's Braxton Caldwell had 22 points and six rebounds on the day. But not to be overshadowed were the five other Pennsylvania players who also finished the game with double-figures in the points column. Elk County Catholic's Jordan Wasko and Colby Nussbaum finished with 19 and 15 points respectively with Wasko also having racked up five assists, Johnsonburg's Isaiah Jackson recorded 15 points and 12 rebounds, Coudersport's Reilly Streich had 11 points and eight rebounds and Cameron County’s Josh Smith had 10 points and nine rebounds to his name.

New York's boys had their moments behind double digit performers Zach Sisson and Lucus Brown. Sisson, from Fillmore, led NY with 21 points and three steals while Salamanca's Brown supported him with 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Braedon Wight (Cuba-Rushford) added eight points.

Unfortunately, turnovers and a consistent downpour of PA buckets left New York in a deep hole they were unable to escape from. A 24-3 run for PA was the biggest of the first half and a second half-opening 9-0 run was the longest of the final 20 minutes.

Pennsylvania coach Brian Hobbs could not have been any happier with the energy and performance of his players, who he made sure not to get in the way of.

"You know, the saying is 'Don't mess up a good thing,' and I did not mess up a good thing," Hobbs laughed. "It's a great group of kids. I was surprised by the way they moved the ball. It's an all-star game (and) you want to showcase your talents, but they moved the ball, they were screaming for each other, they are a really great group of kids."

While at first a little disappointed about the loss, New York coach Raymie Auman remained positive about the Senior Classic experience as a whole, reflecting on how great it was to get back in the saddle and to be able to lead a team of talented players who competed until the end.

"Not happy we lost, I'm competitive first, but it's an honor to be in this," Auman said. "These are great kids (and) it's fun to be a part of it. We had moments, it just wasn't our night in a lot of ways. I was happy. they always competed, nobody really hung their head and quit, which is good. And like I said, it's just great to be a part of (the event). I've been out of (coaching) for two years, so it's nice to coach again."

Hobbs shared in the sentiment of the event as well. Being able to coach again was a big bonus for him, but noted how special it is for these players to show what they can do as a combined force in front of a hometown crowd.

"For me, this is awesome, I really missed coaching this past year and then to be able to coach a group of guys like this is amazing," Hobbs said. "But, for (the players), there's some AAU basketball that goes on and some of these kids do play together, but they get to come here, locally, and showcase their talents. People come to watch and then we're able to give back through scholarships."

As a whole, both Auman and Hobbs are hoping that more than just a win or a loss is taken away from this game for their players. The big picture of both of them is that the Classic is a chance to learn and take some lessons with them as they leave the high school court for one final time as athletes.

"Always playing hard (and) being consistent," said Hobbs, the former Bradford coach. "I think (the players) were tonight, but you carry that over into life. You know, working hard and being consistent in what you do, will definitely elevate you to that next level, whether it be in athletics or in a profession."

Auman, the former Wellsville coach, noted, "Hard work pays off. You work hard so that you can be asked to play in these games. You don't get asked to play in these games if you didn't work hard and didn't put a lot into it. So, you know, when I told them that if you didn't earn it, you wouldn't be here."

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