Wilson's girls hoops season ends with B Finals OT loss
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Tonawanda saved its best for last Wednesday night, beating Wilson, 43-41, in overtime, to claim its first ever Class B girls basketball championship at Buffalo State College's Alumni Arena.
Head coach Jay Hall's Lady Warriors (17-4) got a game-high 24 points from senior guard Kaylyn Compeau, including four in overtime, as Tonawanda advances to the state Far West Regional at 11 a.m. Saturday at Finger Lakes Community College against the Section V (Rochester area) Class B champion.
The winner of that game advances to the state “Final Four” March 14-16 at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.
Sophomore guard Dahnea Harrison had a huge second half with 9 points for Class B-1 third seed and evental champion Tonawanda. Senior co-captain Alanna Herne added 6 points.
“Now that we've come this far our confidence is boosted that much more now,” Compeau said. “We know the next team is going to be tough, but we're going to just keep working harder each time.”
The Class B-2 champion Lakewomen struggled shooting throughout, but were led by their senior forward Emily Lasher with a team-high 17 points. Senior Kaylee Stoelting added 12 points, 10 rebounds and 4 steals for head coach Brian Baker's team, which finished 19-3 overall.
“We had a great run. Our kids played hard and fought back to the very end,” Baker said. “We got down but we hit some key shots by people who've been doing it for a lot of years. We're definitely going to miss the seniors. Hats off to our girls. They had one heck of a year.”
The game looked more like a rugby match than a basketball game at times with scrums galore and the possession arrow coming into play repeatedly throughout.
Stoelting hit a free-throw to give Wilson an early 1-0 lead, but Compeau came right back with a running jumper off the backboard that set the tone for the rest of the day and the Lady Warriors were up 2-1.
Compeau put on her track shoes and was off and running on consecutive fast breaks, out-running the Lakewomen for a pair of layups as the Lady Warriors led after one quarter, 6-3.
Dana Smith fed fellow senior Allie Bubar down low for an easy two as Wilson cut the Tonawanda lead to one 6-5, but Herne stole a pass and sent Compeau off to the races on another layup as the Lady Warriors upped their lead back to three, 8-5.
Lasher swished one from the corner to bring Wilson back to within one, but Compeau drained a 3-pointer and it was 11-7 Tonawanda.
Lasher answered that with a defiant tre of her own to cut the Lady Warriors lead back to one, 11-10, then moments later Stoelting's inside bucket gave Wilson its first lead since the game's opening moments, 12-11. Lakewomen junior forward Megan DiLaura closed the first half with a 15-footer off the backboard to give her team a 14-11 lead at halftime.
It might as well have been Wilson 14, Compeau 11 because the Tonawanda senior had scored every one of her team's points. Compeau promptly opened the third quarter with an outside jumper then went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe to tie the game at 14-14.
Smith was open and took the three, making it. Lasher's rebound basket gave Wilson a five-point lead at 19-14.
But Herne joined the scoring parade for Tonawanda with a running jumper, then Compeau went 2-for-3 from the foul line to cut the Lakewomen lead to 19-18. Stoelting hit from the inside then DiLaura added a free-throw to make it 22-18 Wilson.
Lasher's 3-pointer moments later gave Wilson its biggest lead of the game at eight points, 27-19. Compeau's steal and layup gave Tonawanda life. Harrison added a free-throw and Wilson's lead was five after three quarters, 27-22.
Smith drained yet another outside jumper to open the fourth for Wilson, but Harrison stole the show, opening her act with a rainbow 3-pointer to cut the Lakewomen advantage to four, 29-25. Harrison then stepped to the line on a 1-and-1 and made both to cut the lead to two, then threw up another 3-pointer to give Tonawanda the lead, 30-29.
“It's unbelievable, honestly I'm speechless. I'm still in shock,” Harrison said. “I came in and I made the shots. And after that we just came out-it was crazy. It feels amazing. I'm shaking...It's amazing. I can't believe we made it. We're making history. It's crazy.”
Paige Hill's basket upped the Tonawanda lead to three, then Compeau's jumper gave Tonawanda it's biggest lead at five, 34-29. Stoelting drained a pair of clutch free-throws with just over two minute left in the game to cut the Lady Warriors lead to three, 34-31, then Lasher brought the large Wilson contingent to their feet with a three-pointer to tie the game at 34-34 with 49.2 seconds left.
Herne banked a shot in, then Baker called a timeout with 16.5 ticks left. Bubar fed Stoelting inside and the game was tied at 36-36 heading to the 4:00 extra session.
A phantom foul on Lasher sent Hill to the charity stripe and Paige sank a pair to give Tonawanda a 38-36 lead. Stoelting's inside bucket tied it, but Compeau's jumper then layup made it 42-38 Tonawanda with under a minute to go.
Stoelting's free-throws cut the Tonawanda lead to three, 42-39. Lasher's two free-throws cut the lead to one, 42-41, then Herne closed out the scoring with a free-throw with 7.4 seconds left.
“It was a great season. We played as a team,” Stoelting said. “We're one team. One heartbeat. That was our motto throughout the season.”
GAME NOTES: Wilson was designated as the “home team” for Wednesday's B title game by virtue of their higher seed, according to sectional girls basketball chairman Chris Durr. The Lakewomen were seeded first in Class B-2, while the Lady Warriors were seeded third in Class B-1.