Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls High School girls’ basketball team inched closer to a possible Niagara Frontier League title, doing so by accomplishing a first Friday night — beating Niagara-Wheatfield on the road.
The Wolverines did so in decisive fashion, jumping out to an 18-2 lead on their way to an eventual 58-38 win.
The result improved Niagara Falls’ record to 11-2 overall and 9-0 in the NFL. Niagara-Wheatfield fell to 6-6 overall and 5-4 in the NFL.
“Our defensive pressure, our girls were really aggresssive, we got them to turn the ball over early and get some points in transition,” said Niagara Falls girls basketball coach Mike Esposito. “I think our defense here was definitely the key to the game.”
That defense created plenty of turnovers from which the Wolverines were able to counter with more points that built their lead.
Co-captains Victoria Pryor and Toni Polk led Niagara Falls in scoring with 20 points and 13 points, respectively. Pryor’s output included two 3-pointers.
“Pryor and Polk got a lot of baskets off steals for layups,” added Esposito.
Just as important to the Wolverines’ success was shutting down Niagara-Wheatfield’s biggest threats. Ijon’Ana Laster was given the task of eyeing Allyson Czaja, the Falcons’ leading scorer who coming into last night’s game was averaging 11.5 points per game.
“Laster did a terrific job on Czaja,” said Esposito. “She’s got about six inches on (Laster) and she did a great job holding her to five points.”
With five games remaining, and the Wolverines closer to a possible league title, Coach Esposito is again making the point that the team is not allowing itself to look too far ahead.
“We’re 9-0 now and we just take it one game at a time.”
Immaculata 47, Niagara Catholic 25
Kristen Kline and Katie Simon each scored 10 points for the Bulldogs (3-6, 1-0 MMA) in their win over the Patriots (2-5 MMA).
Grand Island 54, Lew-Port 36
Meghan O’Leary scored 16 points and Shannon Holt added 10 points of her own in the Vikings’ (3-8, 3-6 NFL) win over the Lancers (0-13, 0-9 NFL).
Wilson 35, Albion 29
Emily Lasher had 17 points, nine rebounds and six steals, and Allie Bubar recorded eight points, seven steals and 11 rebounds to lead the Lakewomen (10-2, 8-0 Niagara-Orleans League) past the Purple Eagles (7-6, 6-3 NOL).
Lockport 41, Ken West 36
Sara Franco and Alyssa Wagner scored 14 and 10 points, respectively, to lift the Lions past the Blue Devils. Sam Britton and Melissa Fisher each scored 11 points for the Blue Devils.
Hamburg 70, Starpoint 51
Hattie Lasal scored 13 points and Jenna Faulkner and Allison Koithan each scored 12 points in the Spartans’ (8-3, 4-3 NFL) loss to the Bulldogs (10-3, 5-2).
<\Bz14>Niagara Falls 69, Nia.-Wheatfield 45
<\z14>Mikey Bermudez scored 15 points including three 3-pointers and Walker added 11 as the Wolverines defeated the Falcons to move to 5-8, 5-4 NFL. Nathan Neilson hit three 3-pointers to lead the Falcons with 13 points as they fell to 5-8, 5-4 NFL.
<\Bz14>Lew-Port 72, Grand Island 44
<\z14>The Lancers moved to 9-4, 7-3 NFL as Craig Paige scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the double-double. Jernard Jackson led all scorers with 21 points. Joe Kulikouski scored 10 points for the Vikings (2-9, 1-9 NFL).
<\Bz14>Lockport 55, Ken West 49
<\z14>The Lions (10-3, 9-1 NFL) had Ryan Lawrence (19 pts), Colin Dougherty (15 pts) and Moziah Townsend (13 pts) scored in double digits as Lockport got revenge against the Blue Devils (8-1, 8-1 NFL) at home.
<\Bz14>North Tonawanda 55, Ken East 41
<\z14>Mark Awad scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds for a double-double as the Lumberjacks moved to 9-4, 8-3 NFL. The team had 15 steals as a team and put up 37 points in the second half. The Bulldogs were led by Adam Geib, who scored 12 points, as they fell to 3-10, 2-7 NFL.
<\Bz1888888931274414>Grand Island 100, North Tonawanda 76
<\z1888888931274414>Nathan Link won the 200 IM (2:22.89) and 100 fly (1:04.06) to help the Vikings (11-3) honor their seniors on Friday night and down the Lumberjacks (1-12).
<\Bz1888888931274414>Ken West 54, Niagara Falls 40
<\z1888888931274414>The Wolverines won just the 200 free (Christian Devlin, 2:19.22) as they fell to the Blue Devils (8-5-1).
<\Bz1888888931274414>Lew-Port 59, Ken East 43
<\z1888888931274414>Ryan Monteleone won the diving event (260.00) and Dave Broderick won the 100 free as the Lancers moved to 5-8-1. Graham Jones won the 200 free (2:04.75) and 500 free (5:39.56) for the Bulldogs (1-13).
<\Bz1888888931274414>Lockport 114, Nia.-Wheatfield 66
<\z1888888931274414>The Lions improved to 13-0 as they swam past the Falcons who fell to 9-5. Scott Guyton won the 200 IM (2:09.30) and 100 fly (56.69) and Derek Secord won the 50 free (23.02) and 100 free (52.16) for the Lions. The Falcons won three events: the 500 free (Tyler Fleming, 5:20.68), 100 back (Nathan Ehrmann, 1:00.54) and the 100 breast (Dan Peltier, 1:05.23).
<\Bz1888888931274414>Starpoint 101, Amherst 69
<\z1888888931274414>On the Spartans senior night, seniors Alec Toth (200 IM - 2:06.08; 100 back - 57.19) and Rob Luckman (50 free - 23.55; 100 free - 50.42) won two events each and Ben Chatley was a member of the winning 400 free relay (3:34.83) as Starpoint moved to 10-0 and clinched the ECIC III title.