SANBORN — If you like watching basketball games that keep you at the edge of your seat, Niagara County Community College was not the place for you on Tuesday night. If you’re a follower of the Jamestown, Grand Island or Olean girls basketball teams, however, it was.
All three won Section VI titles by wide margins as an estimated 1,500 looked on. Jamestown won by a 34-point margin, Grand Island’s victory came with 17 points to spare and Olean’s was by 23.
All three advanced to the Far West Regionals this weekend at Buffalo State against the champions from Section V.
CLASS AA: Jamestown ran all over surprise-finalist Niagara-Wheatfield, 97-63, for its first title since 2008. The only mystery was would the Red Raiders score 100 points. The Red Raiders had 11 scorers and made 12 three-pointers. Karisha Tapia led the way with 26 points and five threes. Anne Campion added 19 and Rose Velazquez had 18.
“We’ve played some good teams this year; this game we just played really well,” said Campion. “All the girls are so close and we play together throughout AAU and we’re just a family.”
Jamestown jumped to a 28-12 lead after the first quarter and the rout was on. Niagara-Wheatfield (15-6) was led by Rachel Pawlak’s 21 points and Allyson Czaja’s 19.
Jamestown (18-3) will play Gates-Chili in the Far West Regional on Saturday at 3 p.m.
CLASS A: Grand Island was not going to be denied a fifth straight title as it beat Pioneer, 46-29.
GI senior center Cassie Oursler continued her strong playoff run with 23 points and 29 rebounds while Kassie Bennett added nine points with 11 boards.
“We definitely played team defense, everybody played their roles, the things we worked on in practice” said Bennett. “We all just worked together.”
Shannon Rogers led Pioneer (13-9) with 11 points. The Panthers shot a dismal 3 of 23 from the floor in the first half.
“We were certainly trying to pay attention to where their two shooters [Rogers and Jacque Law] were,” said GI coach Jen Banker. “We were definitely recognizing that.”
The Vikings (12-8) will play Pittsford-Mendon in the Far West Regionals on Saturday at 1 p.m.
CLASS B: Only one thing mattered to Don Scholla on Tuesday night.
“You never know, you have to be the best team on that day. Two good teams were playing today, we just happened to be a little better,” the Olean coach said. “We could play Wilson again and it could be a totally different ball game.”
This day belonged to the Huskies. They got solid games up and down their lineup and beat the Lakewomen, 59-36. It was Olean’s second title in a row and fifth in the last six years.
Olean (19-3) will play Waterloo on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Olean had three scorers in double figures, led by guard Kaylee Pearl with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Sara Zeigler, a 5-10 senior forward, added 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting and 13 rebounds. The 6-2 Maggie Moore was next with 13 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots.
As a team Olean was 20 of 51 from the floor (39 percent) while Wilson was held to 13 of 66 from the floor (20 percent).
Scholla said the perimeter shooting was key and so were the offensive rebounds.
“We got some separation from them, that’s what we needed, and they were playing catchup,” he said. “And it helps when you have the big girls down there, if somebody gets beat, they are usually still contested shots. They are tough to shoot over.”
The only other loss by Wilson (20-2), undefeated champions of the Niagara-Orleans League, came to Holy Angels. Dana Smith had nine rebounds to go with eight points. Emily Lasher had five steals.
“Obviously their size hurt us a little bit,” Wilson coach Brian Baker said. “I just wish we could have knocked down a few earlier shots.”
Olean pulled away from a 16-12 first-quarter lead by outscoring Wilson, 15-3, in the second.
Wilson tried pressuring the ball full court with minimal success. Olean outscored them, 14-10, and enjoyed a 20-point lead after three.
Olean continued to dominate in the fourth quarter and began taking its starters out with two minutes remaining.