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Maple Grove, Franklinville Girls Win Far West Regional Crowns

History was made by the Maple Grove High School girls basketball team.

The Red Dragons advanced to the state semifinals for the first time ever, posting a 44-38 win over Section V’s Oakfield-Alabama on Saturday at Buffalo State College.

“Oh my gosh. It is insane,” Maple Grove co-captain Courtney Hemminger said. “I can’t believe we did it. I’m so proud of these girls. It’s hard to even think. The adrenaline is still flowing, it’s’ just amazing.”

The Red Dragons joined Class D’s Franklinville as the only Section VI teams that advanced after five games played on Saturday at Buffalo State College. Frontier (AA), Lake Shore (A), and East Aurora (B) were eliminated, the latter two in overtime.

Marisa Schuppenhauer scored 14 points to lead Maple Grove (21-3). Sam Snow added nine and Hemminger eight in the historic win for Maple Grove.

“I’m proud of my girls,” MG coach Bill Price said. “We didn’t play well at times but be found a way to grit it out. This is why you go for five months, for moments like this.”

Class D

Meanwhile, Franklinville repeated as Far West Regional champ with a mostly new roster. But there has been one returnee that has proven to be the most valuable – and came through big time on the big stage.

Senior Danielle Haskell scored 33 points and the Panthers returned to the state semifinals with a 49-32 win over Elba.

“I don’t want to say it was better than last year because last year was really great,” Haskell said. “But coming into this year, I don’t think anyone thought we’d get this far.”

Class AA

After winning the Section VI championship for the first time in program history, Frontier ran into a buzzsaw in the first game on Saturday. The powerful Bishop Kearney team took about five minutes to get rolling but then the Kings really rolled, posting an 81-45 win over the Falcons.

After Frontier took an early lead, Kearney took over with a 33-5 run and was not threatened in the second half.

The Kings (22-1) won for the 12th straight game and moved to 7-0 on the season against Western New York teams – each win coming by double figures. BK’s lone loss this season came to Pittsburgh-area power Bishop Canevin.

“It was a tremendous season and it was awesome to be a part of it,” Frontier coach Rick Mihalik said. “There were a lot of firsts this season. This is a tremendous atmosphere, great to be here. But that team is loaded.”

Senior Kennedy Izzo led Frontier with 17 points. Senior Ami Canale and junior Claire Kruszka added nine for the Falcons (20-4).

Class A

Lake Shore suffered an almost more cruel fate, losing 68-66 in double-overtime to Section V’s Pittsford-Mendon.

It seemed like Noelani Cornfield had willed the Eagles to the final four, hitting the go-ahead bucket with 35 seconds left in regulation and then hit two clutch free throws to give Lake Shore a late three-point lead. But Mendon freshman Danielle Strauf had the answer with a game-tying three with 12 seconds left.

The overtime sessions proved tough for Lake Shore after Cornfield fouled out, joining her sister Tashawni – who fouled out in regulation – on the sidelines.

Class B

The Far West Regionals started out all smiles for East Aurora but ended in all tears as Section V power Midlakes rallied from a rocky start for a 57-51 win over the Blue Devils and returned to the state semifinals.

“Tough loss but I think we lost to a really, really good team,” EA coach Gary Schutrum said. “They certainly have the jets to get up and down the court and no lead is safe against them. I thought we had a nice lead there in the first quarter and I looked up and we were up by six or something, it felt like we were up by 12 or 14. They just keep coming, they just keep coming and they have a great ability to finish.”

The Blue Devils started the game up 14-2 and had an 11 point lead but the Screaming Eagles kept on coming and eventually took their first lead on a bucket by standout Alana Forbes with five minutes left in the fourth.

The game went into overtime – thanks in large part to a big-time block by Blue Devils guard Katie Oar, who raced from behind to deny Forbes on a layup attempt after a steal. But the OT was controlled by the Screaming Eagles.

Sarah Tully scored 15 points and Kennedy Horning added 10 for EA (21-4).

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