NEWFANE — From the opening tip, the Barker boys basketball team asserted itself as the dominant group in Friday night's Niagara-Orleans league opener at Newfane.
The Raiders shot better, rebounded better and broke into transition faster, en route to a 30-14 advantage at halftime. Barker never looked back, as coach Dave Carson's veteran squad cruised to a 60-31 victory over Newfane.
Barker is now 1-0 in league play, while Newfane falls to 0-1.
The Raiders opened the second half with a 22-1 spurt that pushed the Barker lead to 52-15, putting the game out of reach. Carson was particularly impressed with his team's play during this stretch, pointing to the uncanny clutch shooting of junior Chris Sweeney as a factor that helped turn the tide on Friday night.
"No matter what the situation in the game, Chris Sweeney is a timely shooter," Carson said. "He hits threes at the right time. When Barker makes a run, he's usually a big part of the run."
Indeed, midway through the third quarter with Barker leading 39-15, Sweeney drained back-to-back threes that gave the Raiders a 30-point advantage. The junior swished the first one from the corner, and drained the second head-on before providing a one-two punch of intense fist pumps.
Sweeney finished the game with 14 points, second only to senior Jacob Haight, who continues to be his reliable self with a 23-point effort. Junior Mitch Luckman added eight, and senior Bryce Moeller added seven.
After falling behind 52-15, Newfane rallied with a 10-0 run that brought the margin to 27 points with just under six minutes remaining. Just as the Newfane student section began to come to life, Sweeney quieted the Blue Zone with another swish three-pointer and transition layup that made the score 57-25, removing any lingering doubts about the outcome.