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Lady Blue Devils Win Non-League Showdown

By Dave Ricci

It might not have been text-book pretty, but it might just have been exactly what they Lady Blue Devils needed.

Anna Quinlan had a game-high 25 points and Kenmore West, of the Niagara Frontier League, scored a 45-41 win over ECIC II Williamsville East in girls’ non-league basketball action that was played Tuesday night.

Quinlan hit five outside shots and was 6 of 9 from the free throw line as the Lady Blue Devils (6-8) got back in the win column after a deflating league loss to Lockport last Friday.

“Definitely when you hit a three it’s a good feeling and it’s changes the whole game,” said Quinlan, who hit three of her treys in the third quarter.

“It gets the momentum going and a positive attitude, which is always good in a game. Especially in (a game) so close.” Quinlan also nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second quarter to put the Blue Devils up 12-8, as they would maintain the lead for the remainder of the game.

The Lady Flames, who now fall to 3-8, were hitting their shots early and actually held an 8-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. But that lead faded, as a 10 minute scoring drought left the Flames in a 16-8 hole at halftime. Ken West coach Jeff Martin credited his teams high pressure man defense for disrupting the Flames offense during that scoreless run.

Martin also said Emma Pfohl (15 rebounds) and Abby Borkowski (10 boards) were instrumental in the defense’s strong showing. “Our defense was terrific tonight. I was very happy with the way they played,” said Martin. “I was very happy with our defense. Very happy with our man-to-man. It took us almost three-and-a-half quarters then we switched to a 2-3 zone and we did a nice job in that also.” Martin went on to praise the defensive work of Borkowski, who returned to the basketball team this season, and what she brings. “Heart. Toughness. Rebounding,” said Martin. “She 10 had rebounds tonight.”

Will-East was able to claw back into the thanks largely to Maddy Miske (17 points) and Rachel Romanowski (14 points). They managed to pull within two points, 43-41, with just over a minute to play thanks to Maddi Lawida’s 3-pointer, but they could not get any closer. As a whole, Tuesday’s result was a frustrating replay of everything that seems to keep going wrong for them this season. Turnovers, 32 on this day. An inability to make looks at the basket count or make defensive stops at crucial junctures in the game. All signs of how this young teams is trying hard, but still struggling to find its voice.

“This game is a microcosm of how our season has gone thus far,” said Will-East Chris Durr. “We’re just a half-a-quarter away from winning three more games. We went 10 or 11 minutes without scoring-I think it was 8-4 with two minutes to go in the first quarter and we had eight at halftime. That’s a microcosm of how our season has gone so far. What’s positive about this game is in the second half you’ve seen how we can play. We battled back, we got on the floor, we got loose balls. We made big shots to get us from five (down) to two, by Maddi Lawida. Maddy Miske made some big three’s. Rachel obviously really well in the post. But when you go the whole second quarter without scoring it magnifies the mistakes that you make in the fourth quarter because they are so much more important.”

The Blue Devils were without senior captain and starting point guard Rachel Sefried (flu) but senior Jessica Phillips stepped in and, according to Martin, did a high quality job of moving the ball and running the offense.

While the Blue Devils feel they should not have allowed Will-East to climb back into the game, they took away the plus of knowing they didn’t fold under the pressure of the Flames comeback attempt.

“It taught us how to finish,” said Martin.

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