Falconer wins first sectional title in 42 years, to meet Salamanca for Class B title in boys hoops

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Four years removed from a winless season, the Falconer Golden Falcons are Section VI champions in boys basketball for the first time in over four decades.

Now they will meet a Salamanca Warriors squad that is making sectional titles a semi-annual tradition.

With its 59-47 win against Eden on Saturday at Buffalo State Sports Arena in the Class B2 final, Falconer won its second Section VI title in school history, and first since 1982. Salamanca, which broke a 54-year championship drought in Class C two seasons ago, beat Newfane 61-43 to win the B1 title. The Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Associaion members will meet Tuesday night at Buff State in the Class B crossover.

“From the first day I walked in there, I said I want to win a state championship,” said Falconer coach Jordan Goold, who won a state title playing for Maple Grove. “The first step there is to get to a sectional championship, and all these guys bought in. It’s been a beautiful ride, a beautiful thing to see them seize their dream.”

Falconer had won fewer than 10 games total in the five seasons before Goold took over. They got four wins in his first season, and were often beat by the junior varsity in practice. But while Goold established a culture of work, togetherness, family and belief, those JV players developed into this year’s championship squad.

“They dig in to work, they dig in to playing together, they believe in being a family and being accountable to each other,” Goold said. “And that’s what you get, a sectional championship.”

Mired in a four-game losing streak midseason, Goold wondered whether the team with more underclassmen (five) than seniors (four) was still too young to contend. Junior guard Mathis Baehr and sophomore Roger Markham set him straight.

“They told me to stop making excuses for them,” Goold said. “We’re not too young, they said. We’re running out of time. We have to do it now. Having a sophomore and junior looking in your eyes and telling you that, it changed my whole mindset on the season. In that moment, I realized I had to be harder on them. I had to be tougher, and push them more.”

Salamanca coach Adam Bennett noticed from across the Souther Tier. “I can’t give Coach Goold enough credit for what he’s done there in the last four years,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”

After getting upset by Fredonia in the B2 final last season, Salamanca was determined to get back on the postseason path that put them in the state semifinals in 2022.

“Unfinished business,” said stellar senior guard Lucas Brown, who his his season average in leading the Warriors with 26 points. “We came here last year and fell short. Now we got the job done.”

Bennett, who spent 10 seasons as the public address announcer at St. Bonaventure and was an assistant coach for Western New York’s all-time winningest coach Jeff Anastasia at Olean, called Brown the hardest-working player he’s ever been around.

“For him to have the performance he did on the big stage, it’s not luck,” Bennett said. “He deserves it with all the work he puts in. I’m just so thankful for him and who he is as a person.”


Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.

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