Niagara Gazette — KENMORE — Wilson girls basketball coach Brian Baker knew what the problem was.
After all, the Lakewomen had won each of their last 14 games at least a 12-point margin.
So it was strange when No. 5 Southwestern had Thursday night’s Section VI semifinal game tied at 11 heading into the half.
That’s when Baker proposed a challenge to his team.
They responded with a 7-0 to begin the second half, and the top-seeded Lakewomen (18-2) fed of that momentum for the remainder of the game, a 33-27 win over the Trojans (12-9) at Kenmore West High School.
“We haven’t been challenged much this year,” Baker said at center court after the game. “So I just said they needed to rise to Southwestern’s challenge and we’ll see how you come out of it. We responded and I thought we played a great second half.”
Neither team was able to figure out the secret to getting the ball to drop during the first half.
It didn’t help that Wilson piled up eight fouls and found itself in the bonus with a handful of minutes to play.
Leading scorer Emily Lasher managed just two points.
But the Lakewomen are known less for their offensive prowess and more for their all-around team play, which paced them all season and proved the difference in the second half.
Timely shooting from senior Allie Bubar helped Wilson open up an 18-11 lead at the 4:10 mark of the third quarter.
Southwestern pulled to within three points before the final quarter began and managed to hang in the game, but that was as close as the score would get.
Foul trouble plagued the Trojans, who got caught in the bonus with 4:16 to play.
Wilson took advantage, led by Lasher, who had rebounded from a slow first half, and tacked on to its lead little by little to close out the game.