Fourth Class B-2 girls hoops title in five years for Wilson
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Shaking off a slow, nervous start with a Three-Point Parade in the second quarter, Wilson dominated rival Akron, 46-20, Sunday, to claim their unprecedented fourth B-2 girls basketball championship in five years at Buffalo State College’s Alumni Arena.
Head coach Brian Baker’s Lakewomen broke the game open with a strong defensive effort and tremendous outside shooting in the second that resulted in a 15-4 run and 23-12 halftime lead, then out-scored their Niagara-Orleans League rivals the rest of the way, 23-8. It was N-O champion Wilson’s third win over Akron this season.
“People say the third time’s a charm, but it’s always the worst. I’d much rather play anyone else but a team a third time,” said Wilson forward Emily Lasher, who canned 18 points. Senior teammate Allie Bubar also scored 18, including a clutch 8-for-10 free-throw shooting.
Next up for Wilson (19-2) is the sectional overall Class B title game, slated for 5 p.m. Wednesday against B-1 champion Tonawanda. The No. 3-seeded Lady Warriors defeated No. 4 Bennett, 62-31, earlier Sunday at Buff State for the B-1 title.
“We scrimmaged Tonawanda earlier in the year. They’ve got two really good guards and their forwards are very athletic, they have some knock-down shooters and they’re well coached,” Baker said. “We’ll have to prepare really well over the next couple of days.”
Junior Maggie Kowalik topped Akron with 7 points. Senior Tobie Abrams chipped in with 6 for head coach Dave Butler’s team (11-10).
Wilson senior center Dana Smith got things started with a blocked shot, then moments later dished nicely to Bubar down low for an easy two and the Lakewomen led 2-0. Akron went bombs away with threes from Abrams and sophomore Ashley Mietz to take a 6-3 lead and Baker called a timeout to regroup.
Akron wasn’t through yet as Kowalik hit a nice running jumper from the left baseline to lead 8-3.
But Bubar got the Lakewomen back with a couple of free-throws then Lasher knifed down the lane for two to cut the Akron lead to one, 8-7. Wilson freshman forward Rachel Senek added a free-throw and at the end of one quarter the game was tied 8-8.
Lasher drained a three from the concession stand to open the second and Wilson never looked back. Lasher added still another tre from the corner on a 10-1 Lakewomen run that gave Wilson an 18-9 advantage.
Abrams made her second three-pointer of the game to put an end to the Wilson onslaught, but Bubar couldn’t miss from the charity stripe, then sank a three-pointer to give the Lakewomen a comfortable 23-12 halftime lead.
Bubar opened the second half with a shot that pretty much told the story of the game, falling down as the shot clock was about to expire to sink a three-pointer. She added another basket, as did Smith and then the athletic Lasher on a steal and a lay-up and Wilson was cruising, leading 32-17 after three.
Both coaches were substituting heavily in the fourth, but Wilson still closed the show with a 14-3 run to win by 26.
“I thought defensively we played real tough tonight,” Baker said. “We struggled a little bit shooting, but overall our rebounding was very good. We’re going to stay in games if we work that hard on the glass on the defensive side.”
Smith said it felt great to be sectional champions again.
“We lost our point guard to graduation, but we really stepped it up with our two and three guards and they’re shooting well and driving to the basket a lot better this year,” she said.
Added Bubar, “This one was definitely difficult because we had to come together. The last couple of years we had great players who we could rely on to make the big buckets. This year, we had to rely on each other as a team.”
Lasher said size could be factor on Wednesday night.
“Tonawanda has some good athletes, but they don’t have any tall people, so we’re going to use our bigs and hopefully we can come out on top.”
GAME NOTES: Akron coach Dave Butler was the Akron boys basketball coach for 16 years ... Among those attending the game was former Lockport girls basketball coach Bill Shaw, now assistant coaching the girls basketball team at Williamsville North, who will play Jamestown at 8 p.m. Wednesday for the Class AA championship at Buffalo State ... Also attending was Lockport athletics director and former Wilson coach and administrator Patrick M. Burke.