No. 1 O’Hara girls fall

Cardinal O’Hara, ranked first in The News girls basketball large school poll, suffered its second loss of the season Wednesday – by a wide margin to an excellent team from Section V.

Penfield (10-2), ranked 22nd in the state in Class AA and first among teams from Section V (Rochester area), used its height, ball movement and defense to dominate O’Hara, 83-53, at the Town of Tonawanda school.

Cardinal O’Hara (13-2), which is ranked fourth among Class A schools this week by the New York State Sportswriters Association, fell behind 17-10 after one quarter, trailed 38-27 at the half, and Penfield further established its dominance in a 22-13 third quarter that put it up 20 (60-40) heading to the final quarter.

“They’re that good of a team, that disciplined of a team, that every mistake you make, they’re going to take advantage of,” said O’Hara coach Dan McDermott. “We made plenty of mistakes tonight and they took advantage of every single one of them. Everything that could have gone wrong for us did.”

Five-foot-11 senior Margot Hetzke (who will play at Siena) had 23 points while 5-10 senior Lucy Covley (signed with Division II Roberts Wesleyan) and 6-2 sophomore Emma Guy each added 20 for the Patriots.

South wins showdown

Williamsville South roared to an 18-2 first-quarter advantage and defeated visiting Hamburg, 51-30, in a matchup of ranked ECIC II girls basketball teams.

“Maybe our defense caught them by surprise,” said South coach Kristen Dolan. “We had a lot of energy, ran some traps and switched it up.”

Emily Smith (16 points), Zaria McCullough (11) and Grace Licata (10) led the Billies, who now stand alone in first place in the division with a 7-1 record. South, ranked 10th among large schools, is 9-2 overall. Hamburg is ranked sixth.

“Licata, McCullough and Smith really look for one another and they got into a rhythm in the first half. Erin Egan and Nina Ragland were tough defensively,” Dolan said. “Everyone knows their role, and they all bring something different.”

Egan had seven blocked shots and eight rebounds while Ragland came up with eight steals.

Amherst 7-0 in ECIC III

Darian Lowe and Terrell Brown each scored 19 points as first-place Amherst triumphed over one of its closest pursuers in ECIC III boys basketball. The Tigers defeated visiting East Aurora, 81-70.

Amherst (10-1, 7-0) led by only two points at the half, but a 29-18 third quarter pushed the lead to 13 points entering the final period, and the Tigers, ranked eighth in The News Large Schools poll, were able to coast home from there.

Brown, a sophomore point guard, also had 10 assists and eight rebounds. Lowe also had eight boards for the winners. Kelijah Willis of the Tigers made 14 points, 12 coming on 4-for-6 shooting from outside the arc. Willis came off the bench to spark Amherst to its slim first-half lead.

Brown nets 40 for MEC

In Yale Cup boys basketball, Brian Brown hit season highs in points (40) and rebounds (17) as first-place Middle Early College overpowered Bennett, 74-39, in Yale Cup League 1 play. Middle Early College broke the game open with a 22-5 run in the second quarter.

East, ranked No. 2 in The News Small School poll, routed South Park, 89-44. Percy Bryant led the way with 20 points, eight assists and nine steals. Aurelia Ayala Jr. had 19 for the winners.

McKinley, undefeated in Canisius Cup Buffalo Public Schools girls basketball, rolled past Burgard, 56-29, as Estella Anderson led four Macks who scored in double figures with 15 points. ... Monica Neumeister had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Sasha Dancy had 21 points and 10 steals for once-beaten South Park in a 60-45 win over East. Deja Anderson had 21 points for East.

Fonfara’s goal a winner

Meghan Fonfara scored the game’s only goal and Madeline Norton made 18 saves as Lancaster/Iroquois defeated defending champion Kenmore for the second time this month, 1-0, in the WNY Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Federation at the East Aurora rink. ... Jordan Roetzer scored twice, including the winning goal with 2:20 left to give Williamsville a 3-2 victory over Amherst/Sweet Home in another Fed game.