When Williamsville South captain Emily Smith missed two free throws with 9.5 second left in regulation, her coach promised her she’d have a chance to redeem herself in overtime. She kept that promise.
Smith made all four of her foul shots in the OT to lift the Billies to a 66-60 victory over East Aurora to win the Section VI Class A title at Buffalo State.
Smith’s misses in regulation would have given her team an insurmountable five-point lead. Instead, East Aurora’s Julianna Meisenheimer raced down the floor and banked in an off-balance three-pointer with one second left to tie the game at 55-55. It was deflating for South, but not defeating.
“I looked at all of them and you could tell Emily was down, she missed those free throws, I could see the weight on her shoulders,” said South coach Kristen Dolan, “and I looked at her and I said, ‘You don’t worry about those free throws, you’re going to get the next ones. Let them celebrate now. You’ve got 4 more minutes and you’re going to pour your heart out.’ ”
The score was tied 57-57 when Grace Licata of South gave her team the lead for good with a three-pointer. South’s defense held EA to six free throws in the OT.
Smith finished with a game-high 21 points. Licata’s 18 points included four three-pointers. Erin Egan added 12 tough points underneath.
The Billies (16-5) advanced to Saturday’s Far West Regionals at Finger Lakes Community College, against Section V champion Pittsford-Sutherland (20-1) at 1 p.m.
East Aurora (18-4) was led by standout eighth-grader Emma Brinker with 17 points. She had 10 in the third quarter to squarely give her team the momentum. Maya Dils added 12 points in the paint.
“They were very well-schooled, it was amazing, they handled the pressure, they moved the ball methodically, found the girls in the middle,” Dolan said. “They solved our 50 scheme, they found those girls sneaking in the back door. I’ll tell you what, that team is going to be back here next year.”
Jamestown beat Williamsville North twice during the regular season in close games. Their win in the final was much more convincing.
The Red Raiders made it two Class AA titles in a row, pulling away in the second half of a 58-42 victory over the Spartans.
The Red Raiders (19-2) advanced to Saturday’s Far West Regionals against Gates-Chili at Finger Lakes Community College at 3 p.m.
The teams traded baskets in the first quarter with Jamestown taking a 21-17 lead. Neither team could muster much offense in the second quarter, with Jamestown owning a 28-19 lead heading into the break. The score swelled to 44-26 after three.
“We waited until the second half to get started tonight,” said coach Tim Anderson. “We knew they were going to give us a good test, but we felt like we could wear them down with our size, our speed, our athleticism.”
The Jamestown offense was led by Chrisanna Green’s 29 points and Anne Campion with 18 while its defense was able to hold North leading scorer Ericka Taplin to six points, all in the first quarter.
North, which reached the final under first-year coach Bill Shaw, finished 10-8. The only scorer in double figures for North was Clare Ahern with 13 points.
Dahnea Harrison is not one to let opportunities pass her by.
Checking into the game for the first time in the third quarter, the Tonawanda sophomore scored eight of her nine points in the fourth quarter to rally Tonawanda past Wilson, 43-41, in overtime.
Kaylyn Compeau of the Warriors was the difference-maker, scoring all 13 of her team’s points in the first half and finishing with a game-high 24. But she was only too willing to share the scoring duties with her teammate as their team trailed by five points after three quarters.
“Dahnea saved our butts,” Compeau said. Her points in the fourth quarter “were huge. She did exactly what we needed her to do.”
Tonawanda’s Alanna Herne scored on a layup with 32 seconds left in regulation, giving her team a 36-34 lead. Wilson answered when Kaylee Stoelting scored on an out-of-bounds play to tie it. Tonawanda had 12.5 seconds left, but shot an airball and the teams settled for overtime.
In the extra period, Tonawanda outscored Wilson, 7-5 as Compeau scored her team’s only two field goals. Herne helped provide the winning margin, making one of two free throws with 7.4 seconds left. Wilson had a final possession with 11 seconds left, but a good look just rimmed out as the backboard lights flashed.
Tonawanda won despite having just four players score. Herne handed out five assists while Paige Hill and Savanna Baughman grabbed eight rebounds each.
Wilson, the undefeated champion of the Niagara-Orleans League, ended its season 19-3. Emily Lasher led the Lakewomen with 17 points, including three three-pointers. Stoelting added 12 points.
Tonawanda (16-5), winner of its first Section VI title this season, added another chapter to its history with the overall crown. The Warriors advanced to Saturday’s Far West Regionals against Bishop Kearney (19-2), the Section V champion. The game will tip off at 1 p.m. at Finger Lakes Community College.
“We didn’t shoot great at the start and I guess if I could take one it would be to make a few earlier shots,” said Wilson coach Brian Baker. “You know what? I think our effort was great tonight. I thought it was two really good teams going at it with similar styles. There were 10 athletes on the floor the whole game.”