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DeBerry, Will South edge Amherst in OT thriller

At 6′ 5″ Williamsville South sophomore Amari DeBerry is known for her dominant game around the rim.

But on Wednesday night when her team needed a big-time basket, DeBerry showed she had a strong outside game as well.

Down by seven points with 25.1 seconds left in the fourth, it appeared the game was out of reach for the Billies and rival Amherst was going to pull away and remain unbeaten.

DeBerry had other plans.

The center pulled up and knocked down a three-pointer with 18.1 left on the clock.

The shot went right through the net and sparked a seven-point run for the Billies that ended with Tatyjana Scalisi hitting a floater with two seconds left to bring the game to overtime. Will South carried the momentum into the OT, edging Amherst 72-71.

“I have been working on my outside game,” said DeBerry who led the Billies with 34 points. “Coach does give me the opportunity to shoot threes. But it’s not about me making threes, it’s about helping the team and making sure we get the ‘W.'”

To see DeBerry pull up the way she did with the game on the line didn’t come as a surprise to Billies coach Kristen Dolan.

“She can shoot,” Dolan said of DeBerry. “We have so much confidence in her. She has a beautiful jump shot so when she’s feeling it, she better take the shot. She’s an inside-outside player now.”

With some of the area’s biggest talents on the floor and two unbeaten squads (in WNY play) facing off, the fans were looking forward to a wild game.

But this edition of ‘The Battle of Main Street’ certainly exceeded the expectations of the 150 spectators that packed the stands in the Williamsville South gymnasium.

After several lead changes, late-game drama, overtime, and a made half-court shot, Williamsville South handed the Tigers their first loss of the season.

“All the girls stepped up,” Dolan said. “Some at different times were struggling but I said to them ‘just stick with it, do what we can control.'”

In OT, Will South jumped out to an early lead as they converted a steal into points.

With under a minute left, Scalisi got a steal n’ score to her give team the 69-64 lead. However, Amherst’s sophomore star Ella Wanzer came right back with a three-pointer to cut the deficit to two with 48.3 seconds left.

South’s Riley Domin hit what turned out to be the game-winner with a three-pointer with 12.6 seconds left.

Wanzer still had late-game heroics in her as she made a three-point shot from half court, banking it off the backboard with just over a second left in the game.

The Tigers had a 19-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. They stormed back from a 7-0 South start with a 12-0 run of their own.

In the second quarter, DeBerry began to heat up and find the basket as Amherst only led 27-26 at the break.

Eight-straight points from Wanzer followed by back-to-back threes from Morgan Halt and Paige Stelley gave the Tigers a 48-40 lead going into the final stanza.

The loss ends Amherst’s perfect start to the season.

“I told the girls in the locker room ‘losing is learning,'” Amherst coach Mike Chatelle said. “Besides the O’Hara game, this is really the first time it’s been close. Anything we did today we knew it was going to be a learning process. There are some things that we have to do better.”

Wanzer led her team with 25 points, including 7 threes. Stelley finished with 13 points, while Leah Shutts had 12.

Scalisi finished with 20 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists.

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