hey may have lost an important battle, but they can still win the war — next year.

That’s how most members of the Lockport Lady Lions said they felt following Friday’s 73-60 loss to Jamestown in the Section VI Class AA championship game at the Erie Community College Burt Flickinger Center.

“We’ll be back next year and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a different outcome,” vowed Lockport’s outstanding sophomore guard Renee Schwartz.

“It was frustrating, but at the same time, they’re a good shooting team and they didn’t miss,” Schwartz said. “I wish they would have shot like they did against Clarence in their semifinal.”

JHS senior forward Nikki Frederickson netted a game-high 26 points and junior forward Erinne Cunningham added 23 in a shooting exhibition for the ages, as four different Jamestown players combined for eight 3-point baskets, including four from Cunningham and three rainbows off the bench from 5-foot-1 sophomore Kelly Dalton.

Next up, head coach Ken Ricker’s top-seeded Red Raiders (20-2 overall) advance to next Saturday’s Far West Regionals against the Section V AA champ. Head coach Bill Shaw’s over-achieving No. 3-seeded Lady Lions finished their season 15-9.

“I’m real proud of my kids. I thought we played extremely well. They just shot the lights out of the basket,” Shaw said. “If they would have shot like they normally shoot, it would have been a different ball game. Cunningham and Dalton were just on fire.”

Cunningham was a thorn throughout for Lockport, which managed to keep the game extremely close for 2 1/2 quarters. With four minutes left in the third quarter, the Red Raiders led by just three, 45-42. Then Cunningham drained a 3 as Jamestown outscored Lockport 12-6 the rest of the stanza to lead 57-48 after three quarters. She turned the tide for good midway through the fourth quarter when she stole an LHS fastbreak pass, dribbled up court, stopped and calmly swished a trey.

“I shoot more threes than layups,” Cunningham said.

It didn’t help Lockport that the foul situation was completely one-sided. Jamestown attempted 22 free-throws, making 15 of them. The Lady Lions went to the line just four times, sinking three.

Still, Schwartz has plenty of people to help her keep her 2008-09 promise, starting with nine of 10 teammates — and all five starters — who are underclassmen.

The Lady Lions were led again by their top-scorer, junior Lindsey Burke, who finished with a team-high 18 points and 9 rebounds. Hard-working sophomore Lea Sobieraski netted 15 inside points and added 6 rebounds, while Kim Harrington had a second-straight hot shooting night with 14 points.

Lockport’s only senior this season, forward Heather Rhodes, said she enjoyed playing basketball after a three-year layoff.

“The season was a lot of fun,” Rhodes said. “I haven’t played since eighth grade. The girls were very encouraging to me and supportive of me. I’m proud of how the team played tonight. We left everything on the court.”

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