The Jamestown girls basketball team got beat at its own game Saturday.
The Red Raiders win with fast break baskets, points off turnovers and three-pointers. Against Gates Chili, that’s how they lost.
The Spartans handed Jamestown an 80-59 defeat in the Class AA Far West Regional before an estimated 500 at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. It was the fourth time Gates Chili topped 80 points this season.
Jamestown found itself up against a team that plays a similar run-and-gun style.
“They were a tremendous team,” said Jamestown coach Mark Nugent. “Our plan was to get those turnovers. Teams like that don’t turn the ball over much, and it’s a credit to them. We tried to push the ball a bit, tried a box-and-one. They had good athletes all over the floor.”
Gates Chili, an unselfish bunch, had five players in double figures, led by gifted junior Diona Johnson. She had 29 points, including 14 in the third quarter when the Spartans began to exert themselves. She had all four of her team’s three-pointers, but was equally capable of scoring from inside.
Jamestown beat Niagara-Wheatfield in the sectional final by making 12 of 33 three-pointers. Against Gates Chili it connected on just 4-of-27 threes. Jamestown had been averaging 70.1 ppg.
“They play our style of basketball,” said Gates Chili coach Tara Graziadei. “We just wanted to push the ball and score. They’ve won a lot of games playing that style and he [Nugent] stuck to it. I don’t fault him for that because that’s their style.”
Anne Campion led Jamestown with 15 points. Chrisanna Green had 10 of her 14 points in the second half and grabbed nine rebounds. Karisha Tapia also scored in double figures (13).
“We gave it our all,” said Campion, who hopes to play at Pitt-Bradford next season. “They were a lot bigger than us. They’ve been playing together for a long time. They were just confident. We just kept running, kept trying to get back.”
Both teams came out firing as the Spartans jumped out to a 24-19 lead after one. Gates Chili expanded its lead to 10 (41-31) at halftime, and Jamestown could get no closer.
“At the beginning of the year we didn’t know how far we would go. Our expectations were high like every other team,” said Nugent, whose team finished 18-4. “The question marks are always there. These are the hardest working bunch of kids that I’ve ever been involved with.”
Jamestown was making its first appearance in the regional since 2008. It was the 16th year in a row Section VI has lost the Class AA Regional game to Section V. The last team to win was the Angela Tylec-led Niagara-Wheatfield in 1997.
Gates Chili came into the game ranked No. 3 in the New York State Sportswriters poll. It will take a 23-0 record into next weekend’s New York State Championships against Cicero-North Syracuse on Friday at 8 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.