080226 LP HOOPS1

080226 LP HOOPS1 - SPORTS DOUG BENZ/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - Lockport No. 55 Amy Johnson fights Orchard Park No. 12, Julia Smith, left, and No. 30, Cassandra Hardick, fight for a rebound during action at Williamsville East, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008.

Saving one of their best all-around performances for when they needed it most, the No. 3 Lockport Lady Lions defeated No. 7 OP handily on Tuesday night, 49-28, in a section VI Class AA girls basketball semifinal.

With the lopsided win, head coach Bill Shaw’s peaking Lady Lions (15-8) advance to Friday’s 6 p.m. Class AA final against top-seeded Jamestown (19-2), 69-46 winners over No. 4 Clarence in Tuesday’s other AA semi at Williamsville East High School. The title game will be played at the Erie Community College Burt Flickinger Center in downtown Buffalo.

“We came out a little slow again in the first two-to-three-minutes of the first quarter, but the kids played well and took charge after that,” Shaw said.

LHS junior forward Lindsey Burke was unstoppable for the blue and gold, netting a game-high 21 points and adding six rebounds, four steals and four blocks to her outstanding effort. Burke and the supporting cast that comprises Lockport’s “Big Three,” junior Amy Johnson (11 points, 3 steals) and sophomore Lea Sobieraski (12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists), combined for 44 of Lockport’s 49 points on the night.

“We started ball-faking more and spreading the floor offensively and found the open players for easy shots. I thought we worked hard and everyone touched the ball,” said Burke, Lockport’s leading scorer throughout this season.

“We’ll need to play well against Jamestown by crashing the boards offensively and frustrating them defensively.”

Trailing 8-7 after one, The Big Three exploded with 20 points in the second and had everyone of Lockport’s points in their 27-15 lead at intermission. Finding open players for easy twos throughout was Lady Lions junior point guard Caroline McDonough (8 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals).

“We knew coming in that they were the seven seed. We wanted to prove to them that we were number three for a reason,” McDonough said.

“We had strong play at the post tonight and I just tried to get them the ball when they were open.”

Kim Harrington played another strong defensive game off the bench for the Lady Lions, as did Jenna Harrington, Caroline Randall, Ali Quast and Heather Rhodes.

Jaymie Druding led the Lady Quakers (14-7) with 11 points. Julia Smith added 9.

“Lockport’s a very strong, physical team,” said OP head coach Josh Dannecker.

“We knew it would be physical, but everything still seemed to go their way. I wish them the best of luck against Jamestown.”

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