Niagara Falls beats Lockport in battle of NFL girls hoops unbeatens
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Victoria Pryor can go by any name she wants.
The Niagara Falls star point guard who likes to be called “Shamu” played a killer whale of a game Thursday night, scoring a game-high 23 points to lift the visiting Lady Wolverines over Lockport, 53-46, in a hard-fought battle of Niagara Frontier League girls basketball unbeatens.
The Lady Lions turned the ball over a dozen times in the first quarter, at least half the time to the defensive (and offensive) stalwart Pryor, and trailed Niagara Falls by eight after the opening eight minutes, 15-7.
The second quarter belonged to Brakia Harris, who drained two, 3-point baskets en route to 10 points in the stanza as head coach Mike Esposito's Lady Wolverines (5-0 NFL, 7-1 overall) opened up a 29-16 halftime lead.
“I told them at halftime, ‘They’re gonna make a run.’ We talked all week about how we've been the little sisters for so long,” Esposito said. “I said, ‘They're going to be upset and come out hard in the third quarter.’ Thank God we weathered the storm in the first four minutes of the quarter.”
Things went from bad to worse in that span for head coach Karen Catalano's Lady Lions (4-1 NFL, 5-3), who found themselves trailing Niagara Falls by as many as 19 points, 40-21, with 3:53 left to play in the third.
Showing tremendous determination, the blue and gold dug deep and reeled off nine straight points — including a 3-pointer from junior forward Hailey Bechtold (7 points) — to cut the Lady Wolverines lead to 10, but Pryor's bucket with six seconds left gave the visitors what seemed like an insurmountable 12-point 42-30 lead after three.
Lockport senior center Sara Franco (12 rebounds) saved her best for last in the fourth. Two Franco inside buckets then another by junior forward Alyssa Wagner (12 points, 15 rebounds) highlighted a 6-0 Lady Lions run to open a see-saw fourth. Franco canned nine of her team-high 20 points in the fourth, as the Lady Lions clawed back to as close as five, 51-46, with just over a minute to go.
However, Pryor, Bianca Brown (16 points) and Ijana Laster combined to sink a clutch 8-of-9 free-throws down the stretch and the Lady Wolverines held on.
“We just didn't take care of the ball early,” Bechtold said. “It was really hard to dig ourselves out of what we got ourselves into in the first half. We just couldn't get our ball into the post. Sara could beat them all day, but our passes just needed to be better. We needed to take care of the ball better.”
Lockport won the junior varsity contest, 50-16. Brooklyn Jenkins had 11 points and Jasmine Doxey added 10 for head Jill DiTullio's undefeated Lady Cubs (5-0 NFL, 7-0).
Among those attending the varsity game was former Lady Lions great Lea Sobieraski, who broadcast the game along with Jim Slowey on LCTV.
N-W 7, Lockport 0
PENDLETON — Niagara-Wheatfield improved to a perfect 7-0 in the NFL on Thursday afternoon, while Lockport dropped to 1-6.
Nate Maloney rolled a 237-698 to lead the way for the Falcons, who tallied 3,806 pins to Lockport's 3,075.
Collin Kitcho added a 235-660 for N-W and J.J. Ritz rolled a 234-604 for the Lions.
N-W 6, Lockport 1
Marissa Staschak bowled a 221-572 and Amanda Acee rolled a 222-558 for the Lady Falcons, who improved to 5-2 on the season.
N-W totalled 2,967 pins to Lockport's 2,795.
N-O GIRLS SWIMMING
Barker 85, Medina 85
MEDINA — Sometimes, eight individual races and three relays aren't enough to determine a winner.
That was the case in Thursday's girls swim meet between Medina and Barker, a Niagara-Orleans League contest at the Medina pool. The teams went back and forth throughout the afternoon, with swimmers on each team providing stellar performances.
When the dust cleared, the result was a tie. Barker 85, Medina 85.
"It's kind of like kissing your sister," Medina coach Mary Dooley joked after the meet. "But after we had it handed to us in their pool, we'll take it. Our girls swam hard."
Indeed, the Lady Raiders defeated Medina handily on Dec. 10, in a meet contested at the Barker pool. But this was a different Lady Mustangs squad after winter break, as Medina won seven of 11 races, including two of three relays.
Medina sophomore Emma Gardner won the 50 freestyle (28.04) and 100 freestyle (1:03.11), while senior Max Wright won the 200 free at 2:25.45. Sophomore Haylee Cogovan won the 100 breaststroke at 1:20.23; and sophomore Andrea Toussaint took the 100 butterfly at 1:18.66.
Spunky Barker senior Brooke Targus emerged as a double winner in the 200 individual medley (2:38.79) and 100 backstroke (1:13.77).
Medina is now 1-3-1 in league competition, while Barker is 3-1-1.
It may have not been a win for the Lady Mustangs, but judging by crowd reaction upon the meet's conclusion, it sure felt like one.
"We shuffled our lineup, and the girls pulled it out," Dooley said. "It's been a long time."
Roy-Hart 70, Albion 22
ALBION — Shaking off the rust from winter break, it was business as usual for coach Bruce Matthews and the Lady Rams in an N-O meet on Thursday evening.
Roy-Hart senior Calee Coleman set a girls school record in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:44.23, adding a victory in the 100 backstroke (1:10.16), as the Lady Rams remain undefeated in the league at 5-0.
"Calee has been chasing that record all year," Matthews said. "It's great to see her get it."
Coleman's time also set an Albion pool record for girls in 500 freestyle, as well.
Lindsay Yates also emerged as a double winner for the Lady Rams, taking the 50 freestyle (27.87) and 100 freestyle.
Albion remains winless in the league at 0-5.
N-O BOYS SWIMMING
Barker 92, Medina 77
MEDINA — Medina junior Austin Heil emerged victorious in the 500 freestyle, but Barker won eight of 11 races en route to an N-O league victory on Thursday at the Medina pool.
Barker senior Tim Flint won the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, while junior Casey Webb won the 50 freestyle and eighth-grader Collin Webb won the 100 freestyle. Raider senior John Stansbury won the 100 butterfly.
Medina sophomore Chase Pecoraro won the 100 backstroke, and Mustang senior Patrick Roberts took the 200 individual medley.
Medina falls to 2-3 in league play, while Barker improves to 4-1 in the N-O.
Roy-Hart 68, Albion 22
ALBION — Lyle Wagner won the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke, as Roy-Hart cruised to victory at Albion in an N-O meet on Thursday.
Reliable Roy Phipps won the 100 and 200 freestyle for the Rams, while Nich DiNardo emerged victorious in the 100 breaststroke and 500 freestyle.
Roy-Hart remains undefeated in the league at 5-0, while Albion drops to 1-4 in N-O competition.
Medina 50, Bar/R-H 30
Brett Pecoraro (170) won his first match as a Mustang, pinning Barker/Roy-Hart's Adam Mikall in 3:10, sparking Medina to a home victory in Niagara-Orleans League competition on Thursday.
Medina improves to 2-1 in the league, while Barker/Roy-Hart falls to 1-2.
Medina freshman Brennen Callara (106) pinned Tyler Choate in 1:59, while Mustang sophomore Joe Velez (113) earned a 4-3 decision victory over Brent Bachman.
Other Medina winners included Nick Doberstein (132), Ben Howell (145), Cody Crane (160), Charles Beach (195) and Kalvin Packer (220).
Wrestlers who emerged victorious for Barker/Roy-Hart included Jake Stern (126), Ryan Ulrich (138), D.J. Gardner (152) and James Brady (285).
The match was rescheduled from Wednesday, when Medina classes and activities were canceled due to frigid temperatures.
Albion 48, Wilson 12
WILSON — Albion senior Aaron Mulroy (182) pinned opponent Greg Jeffery in just 18 seconds, sparking coach Keith Piccirilli's Purple Eagles to a comfortable victory over Wilson in a Niagara-Orleans League wrestling match on Wednesday evening.
Of the nine contested matches, Albion won six, also including pins by freshman Blake Aina (132), junior Aaron Burnside (138), senior Kollin Reynolds (195), senior Dylan Burkhardt (220) and senior Austin Klein (285).
Wilson winners included freshman Jeff Mazur (145), senior Chase Wheeler (152) and sophomore Jake Rice (160).
Albion improves to 1-2 in league play, while Wilson drops to 0-3.