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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Orchard Park Girls Win First Sectional Title Since 1997

The Orchard Park High School girls basketball team had its sights set on a Section VI championship for a long time now. On Wednesday night, the Quakers got there.

Orchard Park claimed its first sectional title since 1997 with a 57-22 win over Frontier in the Class AA title tilt at Buffalo State College.

“It feels awesome, especially in my last year,” said senior center Sam Fischer, a three-year varsity starter. “We’ve been trying; we made it two years ago and fell short. This year, to finally win it with the people I’m with is awesome.”

Not only did the Quakers get that elusive championship, they did so in dominant fashion. Orchard Park won all three of its sectional games by at least 25 points and moved to 22-1 on the season.

“It’s fantastic, not for me but for them,” said Quakers coach Gary Janas, who has been with his seniors since his days as the junior varsity coach. “Most of these girls I’ve known since eighth-grade to see them some so close two years ago and then last year we got hit with a slew of injuries that kept us out of it … to see them win it this year after all the hard work they’ve put it, it’s amazing. They had to do it this year and they put the time in for years, so it’s fantastic to see them as excited as they were and to finally get them done.”

Top-seeded Orchard Park got a challenge in the first half from the No. 7-seed Falcons, who were looking for their third straight upset. The second was a different story. OP dominated Frontier in the third quarter by a 20-3 count and in all, held Frontier to five total points in the second half.

When we went into the locker-room at halftime we knew we had to turn up the intensity,” said senior point guard Danielle Hore, who transferred back to Orchard Park from Sacred Heart before her junior season. “So we came out strong in the second half and shut down their best two players.”

Frontier standouts Claire Kruszka and Kennedy Izzo battled foul trouble and combined for just three points in the second half.

The game plan was to take them out of the game,” Janas said. “We wanted to get them in foul trouble early, stop them from driving, then we knew we had a shot.

Orchard Park will face Bishop Kearney at 1 p.m. Saturday at Rush-Henrietta High School in the Far West Regionals. Kearney beat Our Lady of Mercy 63-58 in the Section V title game.

“We’re running into a buzz saw,” Janas said. “But we’re going to go have some fun.”

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