His nickname is "The Ticket," and if you pay to get in to watch Health Sciences' Davonte Gaines, you could say he's worth the price of admission.
His emphatic, high-flying dunks get the crowd out of their chairs and on their feet.
"It's just something for the crowd," he said. "If I'm open, my friends will tell me 'I want you to do this, I want you to do that.' When I get that opportunity I show them what I can do."
Believe it or not, just two years ago Gaines could barely get up to the rim.
"My freshman year I was only like six feet. I grew over the summer and I've been dunking ever since."
But the junior is much for than a show stopper for the Falcons. He's helped power Health Sciences to a 10-2 or 11-1 record heading into Friday's game against Burgard.
"A lot of guys, when you talk about good guys, guys want to score 30 points a game," Head Coach Tyree Parker said. "What I like about Davonte is he's a stat stuffer. He gets blocked shots, he scores, he rebounds, he passes the ball. At 6-6, he's an exceptional talent to be able to do those things on the floor."
College have taken notice as well, with offers from Monmouth and Kent State. Gaines credit his time on the AAU circuit to help raise his profile at the DI ranks.
"Made me a tougher player, and a top player," he said. "Teach me you don't have to do everything yourself. There's a bunch of players that are DI players that are doing the same thing you're doing."
"He's getting better every day. This year has been amazing for me to coach him. He's doing things I never thought he could do at this point," Parker added. "For him to have another year of high school, he's going to be a tremendous talent when he gets there in the future."
Something both Gaines and Parker hope is in the immediate future? A Section VI and state championship.
"I knew we could have something great. We've been doing well," he said. "I want a ring."
"If we play together and play the game the right way, we'll be successful," Parker added.
***SUPER 7 COUNTDOWN***
# 1 - Davonte Gaines, Health Sciences
Has helped power the Falcons to a 10-2 overall record heading into Friday's matchup against Burgard.
#2 – Sara Pfeiffer, Olean Basketball
Scored 51 points in the Huskies’ 74-53 win over Fredonia.
“Sara broke the single game women's points in a game...previous record was 43 points, she also tied the overall men's and women's record of 51 points. 51 points is a lot of points, and I was surprised late in the 4th quarter when my assistant coach told me Sara had 47 points. She played an exceptional game against a very good, and well-coached Fredonia team. Sara scored on a variety of shots: driving layups, mid-range jump shots, and 8 three pointers. She really has been working hard to get her other teammates involved, she did a very good job at allowing the game to come to her. She played a majority of the second half with 4 personal fouls, another sign that her game is growing. Sara's passion, love of the game, and her hard work definitely has improved her game.” – Randy Samuelson, Head Coach
#3 – Dan Scott, Park Basketball
Only a sophomore, Scott eclipsed the 1,000 point mark by scoring 19 points in the Pioneers’ 65-52 win over Bishop Timon. He also scored 15 in a win over Canisius.
"Dan's the perfect fit at The Park School and he's a natural scorer. That's why he's got 1,000." – Mike Battaglia, Park Head Coach
#4 – Je’Ne Brown, Medina Basketball
Scored 22 points in the Mustangs’ 61-56 win over Wilson.
“Je’ne is an exceptional student-athlete who has worked tremendously hard on her game over the last year and a half. Her talent level is extremely high and her knowledge of the game increases daily. Against Wilson, she set the tone for us. Defensively she clogged the middle, blocking and altering shots, and led us in scoring with 22 points. When we needed a big bucket, rebound, or defensive stop she was right there to deliver. Only a sophomore, the skies the limit for Je'ne and as her coach, it is a real pleasure to watch.” – Ken Haak, Head Coach
#5 – Dalton Gardner, Fredonia Wrestling
Named “Most Outstanding Wrestler” at the Ripley Wrestling Invitational. He won the 113 pound championship.
“This season, Dalton is starting to find his groove, since dropping a weight class to 115 lbs. after the Holidays. He is a Captain and a steadying influence on his teammates, even being just a freshman. He is a joy to Coach.” – Joe Santilli, Head Coach
#6 – Mia McCarthy, West Seneca West Basketball
An 8th grader, Mia Scored 20 points and went 7-for-7 from the charity stripe in the Indians’ 43-40 win over Maryvale. She currently leads the team averaging nine points per game.
“Mia was clutch in our win against Maryvale, making 10-13 free throws and 7-8 of those in the 4th quarter. 8th grader McCarthy finished the night with 20 points. She has been a welcome addition to our program and brings a tremendous amount of talent and basketball sense.” – Lori Potter, Head Coach
#7 – Elliott Szabala, Hamburg Hockey
Made 23 saves in Hamburg’s 2-1 win over Lancaster, earning his first Federation victory.
"Elliott is the perfect kid to have on your team. As the back-up goalie he has started two games this season and filled in as relief on another occasion. Elliott is as calm as they come for a goaltender. He lets very little rattle him and for a goaltender that is so important. Lancaster took a one goal lead but he was able to take away every other scoring opportunity the rest of the game." - John McFall, Head Coach
|Breaking News Alerts, Live video, and your hour-by-hour forecast - download the WKBW app|
|News, forecast and Bills newsletters delivered to your e-mail inbox|