Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls girls basketball team didn’t see it coming. But, then again, neither did the rest of the Niagara Frontier League.
At the beginning of the season, the Wolverines were just a group of talented upstarts with designs on overthrowing a Lockport team one year removed from an undefeated season. But now they’re the ones who can claim the title unbeaten NFL regular season champions following a 61-33 win over Lewiston-Porter Wednesday night.
Shmoo Pryor led all scorers with 18 points and six assists and Brakia Harris chipped in six points, eight rebounds and six steals in the win. Niagara Falls (16-2, 14-0 NFL) will wait to learn its opponent in the first round of the Section VI postseason, which for them will begin at home on Feb. 25.
“I was talking to the girls before the game and we never once mentioned undefeated in the league this season,” Wolverines coach Mike Esposito said. “Most people thought Lockport had the edge coming off the season they had last year. ... To go undefeated in this league is pretty remarkable.”
Lew-Port (0-18, 0-14 NFL) startled the Wolverines out of the gates when Emily Muller rattled off four consecutive 3-pointers in the first half. Niagara Falls clung to a 18-17 lead after the first quarter but pulled away from there, allowing just 10 points in the second half.
Muller finished with 16 points to lead the Lancers. Toni Polk added 16 points in the win.
Grand Island 43, N. Tonawanda 34
Dakaylah Winfield fell one assist shy of a triple-double and Lexi Palinowski had eight points and 10 assists as the Vikings (4-13, 4-10 NFL) wrapped up their regular season in-league schedule. Winfield scored a game-high 22 points with 10 rebounds and nine assists in the win. Gretchen Ringler led the Lady Jacks (2-16, 2-12) with 11 points, including three 3-pointers.
Starpoint 55, W. Sen. East 19
Hattie Lasal scored a game-high 13 points and the Spartans allowed just three points in the second half to finish their regular season 9-3 against ECIC II opponents and 14-3 overall.
Ken West 46, Nia.-Wheatfield 16
Samantha Britton finished with 14 points and seven rebounds and Katie Troy had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds as the duo helped the Blue Devils (10-7, 10-4 NFL) run away from the Falcons (8-6) to clinch third place in the NFL.
Niagara Falls 73, Lew-Port 50
Head coach Sal Constantino had a different tone to his voice following the Wolverines’ league finale win.
Each player on the Niagara Falls roster contributed points, led by Mikey Bermudez’s total of 18 to lead all scorers. Breon Harris also chipped in 14 points with four assists and six steals and Tyler Sanders had eight points to go with nine rebounds as the Wolverines capped off a season that has featured its fair share of growing pains with a vindictive win, avenging an earlier loss to the Lancers.
“This season hasn’t been the greatest, but we got through it in a big way by ending things on a high note tonight,” Constantino said with a hint of optimism as the team heads into Section VI postseason play.
The Wolverines’ only senior, Jake Martineau, hit a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter that Constantino said set the tone for the rest of the game as Niagara Falls avenged an earlier loss to the Lancers.
Lew-Port was led by Jernard Jackson and Joey Scirto, who each managed 15 points in the loss.
N. Tonawanda 60, Grand Island 37
Michael Awad had a double-double for the Jacks, scoring 20 points to lead his team as well as grabbing ten rebounds. He also had three steals, while Chris Woodard scored 11 points. Jadon Wegrzyn led the Vikings with 11 points.
Ken West 71, Nia.-Wheatfield 46
Noah Whalen scored 20 points as Kenmore West clinched a share of the Niagara Frontier League boys’ basketball title with Lockport. Adam Fron recorded a double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. The Falcons’ Denzel Fuller also had a double-double, leading his team with 16 points while grabbing a dozen rebounds.
Niagara Falls girls win title... again
Niagara Falls girls bowling finished off a three-peat of the Niagara Frontier League early this week, winning the league outright for the third consecutive year with its 7-0 victory in a makeup match over Lockport. Hailey Johnson led all bowlers with a 716 set, including a 267 high game. Angela Gabriele chipped in a 634 set as she finished her season with the league’s highest game average at 206.19. The Wolverines finished 13-1. The Niagara Falls boys team (8-6) will participate in sectionals today while the girls are set to hit the lanes Friday.