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‘Survive and Advance’ – Girls Hoops Took Center Stage Sunday At Buffalo State

Photo Credits | Kathleen Kramer ~ Simple Moments Photography

It was a memorable weekend at the Buffalo State Sports Arena for four high school girls’ basketball teams and a forgettable one for others.

The Class A-1 and A-2 divisions along with B-1 and B-2 titles were settled in front of a sizable crowd Sunday which included a number of local college representatives. In the opening game Lake Shore battled back from two deficits to claim the A-2 title with a surprising 67-62 win over the Amherst Tigers. In game two, Williamsville South downed Grand Island to win their sixth straight A-1 title.

Later in the day Olmsted fell in their match-up with Southwestern while East Aurora pulled out a big win over Olean.

Lake Shore 67, Amherst 62

Heading into the A-2 championship the Lady Tigers were considered the favorite to move on. However, the Cornfield sisters from Lake Shore had other plans. Trailing 51-44 at the start of the 4th quarter the Eagles rallied and pulled out the victory. Tashawni Cornfield nailed four critical free throws in the final minute of play to lead Lake Shore over Amherst 67-62, who had beaten the Eagles the past two seasons in the sectional semifinals. Tashawni scored a season high 26 points and showed off her ball handling skills and high basketball IQ all afternoon. Sophie Snyder was also big for the Eagles pouring in 14 for Lake Shore (20-2).

“We never once thought we we’re going to lose,” Snyder said. “We really had to fight through some adversity to get here and needed everyone to step up to win and our hard work paid off.”

Lake Shore coach Danielle Arnone was not surprised that her team was able to rally back, “They just needed to push the ball down court and grab the defensive rebounds and take it to the hoop.” Arnone agreed that her team were the underdogs heading into Sunday’s match-up. “I think that Amherst has had such a great program for so long, they are a great team, well coached and this is just my second year and not having a lot of these experiences yet.”

Ella Wanzer who found herself in some foul trouble early led Amherst with 14 points in the loss.

Williamsville South 65, Grand Island 45

South coach Kristen Dolan wasn’t even thinking about the streak heading into Sunday’s game. “We were focusing on one game at a time because anything can happen,” she said after the Billies 65-45 win over Grand Island.

“Anything can happen and Grand Island is very talented. It wasn’t the prettiest today, we didn’t take care of the ball. We survived and advanced.”

One player that stood out for South on a roster filled with all stars was sophomore Ava Urbaniak. This is her first year playing on the team. Urbaniak finished with 14 points and pulled down a number of defensive rebounds in the second half.

“It’s pretty amazing, this is my first year and we’ve all been working really hard since the summer,” Urbaniak said. “I’ve been the sixth man all season and just do whatever my team asks of me.”

Urbaniak might be new to the Billies but has been playing travel under coach Dolan. The familiarity and cohesiveness with Amari DeBerry and the Dolan sisters Gretchen and Hannah was evident Sunday.

DeBerry finished with 16 points in the win while Lydia Sweeney of Grand Island led all scorers with 27.

“This was a really good learning experience for girls who I could not be prouder of,” Vikings coach Kristen Wegrzyn said. “We end the season with four losses all to ranked opponents, it was a great season regardless of how today ended. Sometimes a loss could be a good thing.”

Sweeney was presented with the Cross Training Academy “Character Award” following the loss.

Williamsville South will play Lake Shore Wednesday for the Section VI Class A Title.

East Aurora 46, Olean 44

The Blue Devils survived a last second shot attempt by Olean to pull out a 46-44 win to advance them into the Section VI Class B championship Wednesday. Sarah Tully (19) and Katherine Jancevski (10) led East Aurora to claim the B-1 division title.

Playing for the most part without Sara Pfeiffer, Olean proved they are more than just one player Sunday. Pfeiffer had just four points in the loss while teammate Justine Brooks stepped up with 17 and Sophia Aiello had 16 points.

Southwestern 58, Olmsted 45

The Lady Trojans did what they needed Sunday, beating the surging Owls 58-45. With the win, Southwestern will face East Aurora on Wednesday for the Class B-2 title.

Erin Radack scored 14 points in the win. She also became the school’s all-time leading scorer in the process (1,117 points).

Olmsted had won 15 straight games heading into the B-2 title game.

Baker Honored

Brian Baker, girls head coach at Wilson was given the Frank Martin Coach of the Year Award between the Class B games. Sadly, Martin passed away last year after his Allegany-Limestone team returned from the NYSPHSAA Final Four.

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