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Falcons Hold Off Blue Devils for the Win

In a game that excited from the opening tip, the Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons managed to go into Kenmore West’s gym and beat the Lady Blue Devils on Tuesday night, 39-35.

The evening was characterized by scoring runs from both teams. While the Falcons led 21-11 midway through the second quarter, West refused to let up, rallying back to cut the deficit to 21-16 entering halftime.

“One of the things we did well was come back from being down,” said Kenmore West coach Jeff Martin. “Lots of resilience.”

Niagara-Wheatfield was led offensively by Taylor Benton with 12 points, including 3 three-pointers in the first quarter alone, which got the Falcons off to a fast start. LeGary Jackson added 8 points, 6 of which came in the third quarter, and Callista Zayatz scored 7.

“I think we passed the ball really well, and we shot well too,” said Jackson. “We need to get a bit better at forcing the ball, and we slowed down as a team because of it.”

While Niagara-Wheatfield led 31-18 about halfway through the third quarter, the Devils did not let up. They went on an impressive 8-2 run to bring the game within striking distance into the quarter break.

After the game, Falcons coach Gary Jackson said, “We need to keep up our tempo, not let the foot off the gas. We can’t afford to slow down in close games, and I think we eased back a bit. We’ll work on that in practice.”

The Blue Devils were led by Emma Pfohl, who put up 17 points and was a constant force in the paint, pulling down countless rebounds. Also providing the offensive firepower for the Devils was Alexis Rivera with 8 points and Rachel Sefried with 6, which came off of 2 three-pointers.

The 4th quarter began with stiff defense and sloppy turnovers from both teams, with no scoring for almost three minutes. A lay-up by Pfohl made the game 36-33 with just over two minutes left led to a deep two-pointer from Abby Borkowski, bringing to score to 36-35 with 1:01 left to play. The Kenmore West crowd was loud in the final minute, but ultimately, the Devils could not find the net, while the Falcons made three free throws, putting the score at 39-35.

When asked what the Devils could’ve done to secure the win, Coach Martin laconically answered, “No turnovers. I think we had 20 of them, and that’s unacceptable.”

The loss drops to Blue Devils to 4-7, who are set to visit North Tonawanda on January 17th. The win bumps Niagara-Wheatfield to 4-3, who host Lewiston on January 13th.

Submitted By: Joe Saeli

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