By Brandon Schlager
Niagara Gazette — WILSON — The heart of the Wilson girls basketball team beats to a slogan derived from a quote by famous collegiate basketball coach Dean Smith.
The motto, “One Team, One Heartbeat,” was on display on a banner draped across the bleacher wall at Wilson High School on Friday night when the Lakewomen lost their pacemaker, Jamie Curry, to injury in the third quarter against Roy-Hart.
With the Rams (3-8, 3-5 N-O) closing in on Wilson’s diminishing eight-point lead and their star on the bench, the Lakewomen gathered themselves and resorted to the mantra that’s kept them going all season.
Junior co-captain Emily Lasher stepped up, leading all scorers with 17 points in Curry’s absence, and the Lakewomen (11-1 overall), ranked No. 10 in Class B in New York State, battled through a hard-fought 53-40 win to improve to 8-0 against Niagara-Orleans League opponents this season.
“Emily Lasher played a great game for us tonight,” said Wilson coach Brian Baker. “She was the best player on the floor.”
Lasher had a double-double, adding 15 rebounds and eight steals. Dana Smith also scored eight points to go with 10 rebounds and Allie Bubar chipped in another nine points.
“We haven’t had to (play without Curry) at all yet this year and it was good to see because we have 14 girls working hard everyday in practice,” Baker said. “It’s nice when I can call any girl off the bench whether it’s 30 seconds or a minute and they came through.”
Unlike the first meeting meeting between the two schools, which Wilson won, 59-26, back on Dec. 20, an early deficit forced the Lakewomen to play from behind for much of the first quarter.
After trailing 4-0 to start the game, Wilson finally caught up to Roy-Hart, taking a lead with 3:49 left in the first. They would never trail after that, though the Rams stayed close for the remainder of the game to test the first-place Lakewomen, especially after Curry hurt her shoulder.
“It’s always tough coming off an emotional win like the one against Newfane the other night, but credit to the girls,” Baker said. “They battled through, scored double digits every quarter. It’s not a typical game for us, but you know you’re gonna have some of those. Sometimes you get out of there with a win and a wins and win.”
The Rams were led by Olivia Kelkenberg, who shot 7 for 7 from the free throw line but scored just 15 points following back-to-back 30-point games.
Curry scored nine points and had eight steals and four assists before exiting with her injury, which shouldn’t linger into Tuesday’s league game against Albion, Baker said.
The game was a “Pink Game,” helping to raise breast cancer awareness as part of Coaches Versus Cancer Week. All proceeds from the win were donated to the American Cancer Society.