Bennett built what looked like a comfortable halftime lead in its girls Class B-1 semifinal game against Olean Wednesday night at Sweet Home High.
By the end of the third quarter, however, coach Debra Stanczyk’s Tigers found themselves in a dogfight and struggled for a 56-51 victory over the Huskies. Olean outscored Bennett, 22-10, in the third making it a one-point game entering the final period.
“We always start the third quarter flat,” Stanczyk said. “They scored three baskets right off the bat and they were back in it.”
A three-point basket by Lashondra Hill of the Tigers “seemed to bring some spark back,” Stanczyk said.
With star center Danyae Barclay and two other starters in foul trouble with four each, the Tigers somehow held together to advance to the championship game against Tonawanda.
Barclay, a 6-foot-1 senior, finished with 21 points and dominated inside with 16 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. The Tigers’ first-half fast break was led by junior Jaylese Ragland, who had 18 points.
Courtney Martin had 19 points and Rachel Painter 15 for Olean.
Tonawanda went on a 20-8 tear in the third quarter and defeated Buffalo Arts, 56-50, in its semifinal at Sweet Home. Arts led 28-21 at the half.
Kaylyn Compeau led the Warriors with 22 points. Alexis Campbell had 22 for Buffalo Arts.
In a Class A-2 semifinals at Kenmore West, No. 1 seed East Aurora needed a fourth-quarter rally and overtime to defeat No. 5 Amherst, 52-47. The Blue Devils will face Maryvale in the final.
Maryvale’s Flyers advanced to a girls sectional championship round for the first time with a 45-21 romp over Iroquois as Ciara Rosten had 17 points, 18 rebounds and eight blocks.
East Aurora came from five points down with 3 1/2 minutes left to force overtime. Erin Nason hit a pair of free throws and a basket by Emma Brinker with four seconds left tied it. Nason had 16 points while Brinker had 12 points and 17 rebounds. Eternity Jones had 16 for Amherst.
Boys Class D
No. 3 seed Panama defeated No. 2 Forestville, 67-59, in a semifinal at Jamestown Community College.
Senior Dan Odell led the Panthers with 15 points while Bryce Payne had eight steals, seven assists and nine points.