By Matt Parrino
Niagara Gazette — After looking to get his teammates involved early Friday night, Niagara Falls senior Jermaine Crumpton got going after a titanic one-handed tomahawk dunk — in traffic and with several defenders in the paint — to energize an already boisterous Wolvearena crowd.
He converted three Sportscenter-quality throw downs in the first half, finished with a game-high 16 points, and led Niagara Falls to a blowout, 81-35 victory over North Tonawanda.
Wolverines coach Sal Constantino said Crumpton has been trying to take his game to the next level and he thought he did a good job against the Lumberjacks after playing a bit hesitant at the start.
"We've been talking to him about what makes a good player — about creating for other people — and I thought he was a little hesitant early to get his shot," Constantino said. "Then he got a couple on the break and then he started to attack the rim and it got him going."
The Wolverines got out to a 19-2 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. The Falls had four players in double figures in scoring, but it was senior Stefon Caffee, who finished with nine points, that sparked the team.
"We really came out early and played our game," Constantino said. "It was one of the few times recently that, right from the get-go, we started playing like that. Stefon Caffee was a big piece of the energy early in the game. … Our last three games with (guard J.J. Wilkes) out, he's really provided a lot of defensive pressure for us."
Vinzell Watkins scored 15 points, Ramir Burton added 11 and Tikere Ralands scored 10 points.
The Niagara Falls basketball program held a benefit for Children's Hospital on Friday night and throughout the week to raise funds for children that are less fortunate.
All money raised from a T-shirt sale, ticket sales from the game, the 50-50 raffle and a donation from the team itself — the Wolverines will donate $2 for every one of its 81 points on Friday — will be collected and a check will be delivered to Children's Hospital.
Constantino said it's important to do more with his players than just basketball.
"We're trying to teach them that there is a lot more to life," he said. "We're trying to let the kids know they're very fortunate to be able to play a game and there's some kids out there that are much less fortunate kids out there."
Ian Gilhousen led the Jacks with 11 points, who snap a five-game win streak with the loss.Find Tonawanda News sports editor Matt Parrino on Twitter @MattParrino.