In the Section VI girls basketball Class AA quarterfinals, Williamsville North trailed by five points with two minutes left then rallied for a stunning 52-51 triumph over Niagara Falls.
North was down by five points before Katie Wolfe converted a tip-in and after two defensive stops the Spartans made a free throw. After another stop, North dumped the ball inside to Erica Taplin who was fouled and made both free throws with 22 seconds left to put her team in front. Niagara Falls committed a turnover on its final possession and the Spartans were able to run out the final 8 seconds.
“We started out slow and we went to a zone because we were having trouble man-to-man,” North coach Clare Battle said. “We didn’t make a lot of free throws but we made them when they counted at the end.”
Taplin finished with 18 points while Ann Principe added 14 with four three-pointers to become the school’s single-season record holder for three-pointers in a season with 44.
The Spartans will next face Jamestown, which finished with four players in double figures led by Karisha Tatia’s 19 points in a 75-59 victory over Orchard Park. Rosa Velazquez had 10 points, eight rebounds, eight steals and five assists for Jamestown.
Frontier employed a triangle-and-two defense geared to stop Alexis Cheatham and Sara Franco, but Margretta Dry came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points for Lockport in its 38-34 triumph.
“We didn’t play well at all,” Lockport coach Bill Shaw said. “But I’d rather play poorly and win than play great and lose.”
Niagara-Wheatfield defeated Lancaster, 55-43, in the other Class AA quarterfinal as Melissa Smith led the Falcons with 25 points.
In the Class D girls basketball semifinals, No. 2 Sherman outscored Ellicottville, 18-7, in the final quarter and went on to a 49-37 victory. Elle Reed poured in 28 points and had 11 rebounds and seven steals. for Sherman. Danielle Reed added seven rebounds and Samantha Delcamp six boards.
Sherman will play No. 4 Pine Valley, which upset top-seeded Clymer, 37-36, on an Alex Benthan three-pointer with four seconds remaining.
It’s been nine years since Bishop Timon-St. Jude played for the Manhattan Cup championship but if the Tigers want to end that lengthy draught, they’ll have to upset the area’s No. 1 ranked team.
Standing in Timon’s way is Canisius, which was breathtaking in its 65-point victory in the semifinals and will be seeking its third win over the Tigers this season.
The Crusaders (21-4), winners of the last two Monsignor Martin Association titles, take on the Tigers (13-13) for the championship at 7 p.m. today at the Koessler Center.
Canisius won the previous two meetings this season, 64-59 and 78-42.
The teams took two different paths to the finals. Timon, which dropped a pair of regular season games to St. Joe’s, finally defeated the Marauders, 60-58, in the semifinals, while Cansius rolled past St. Mary’s, 90-25.
Timon seems to be peaking at the right time and is riding a four-game win streak, its longest of the season. But after blowouts of St. Francis and St. Mary’s Canisius has risen to a higher level.
The same thing can be said about Class C-2 top-seed Silver Creek, which ripped MST Seneca on Tuesday night, 75-49, in the semifinals. Silver Creek plays Portville, who defeated Maple Grove, 67-39.