Gretchen Dolan has been the most dominant scorer in Western New York Girls Basketball this season. She once again proved that to be the case on Sunday evening, leading her team to another sectional title in the process.
Dolan went off for 36 points, as Williamsville South downed Iroquois 71-58 to claim the Section VI Class A2 championship. It marks the eighth sectional title for the Billies over the last nine years after failing to win it last season.
“We’ve come a long way,” Will South coach Kristen Dolan said. “We’re a different team than we were in the beginning of the season. They’ve worked hard, I’m just so proud of the girls.”
A quick start for South saw two 3-pointers from Kimora Berry and another from Grace Mauro catapult the Billies out to a 15-3 lead halfway through the first quarter. Iroquois would battle back to cut their deficit to just seven, 17-10, after one.
After a bit of a quiet start, Dolan heated up in the second stanza.
The junior guard tallied five points of an 8-0 run that restored her team’s double-digit lead, 27-14, with five minutes remaining in the quarter. In all, Dolan tallied 15 points in the frame, capping it off with a 3-pointer that put the Billies ahead 38-23 at halftime.
“Definitely my teammates hitting shots,” Gretchen Dolan said on what enabled her strong second quarter. “I knew if [my teammates] were hitting shots, the key would open up a little bit for me than in the beginning. I knew they would be focusing a lot on me.”
The Chiefs would come out of the half firing, opening the third with a 3-point play from Molly Mescall that sparked a 7-0 run to cut their deficit to 38-30. However, their run would be stopped by none other than Dolan, whose 3-point play of her own restored South’s double-digit lead, 41-30 with 5:07 to play in the frame.
“Throughout this season, we’ve had situations like that,” Kristen Dolan said. “Maybe we have a little lead and we panicked and made some really bad decisions. In practice, the coaching staff were really trying to tell them … so we try point a lot of those situations out to them, so it carries over to the game.”
That eight-point margin was as close the Chiefs would come the rest of the way, as the Billies cruised and went on to lead by as many as 25, 68-43, in the fourth quarter.
While Dolan wound up finding her way, it was not so easy early, as the junior was stifled when driving to the hoop on multiple occasions – yet, the Billies still found themselves out to an early lead thanks to the scoring touches of her teammates. In particular, Berry, who ended with 14 points.
“We definitely came out with a lot of energy,” Gretchen Dolan said. “I knew I needed to find my teammates that were open and they hit really big shots today.”
Iroquois did not go silently into the night, closing the game on a 15-3 run, but it was too little, too late. Zoey Zienski led the Chiefs with 21 points.
The Billies advance to the Class A crossover game, which is slated for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. They will play the winner of the Class A1 game between Hamburg and Sweet Home.