The Niagara Falls girls basketball team is eager to be counted among the elite teams in the Niagara Frontier League.

The Grand Island Vikings are the defending league champs and want to prove they still belong in the NFL penthouse.

The two teams collide at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Grand Island in a good early-season test for both teams.

“Grand Island is always going to be a strong team,” said Niagara Falls forward Emily Thompson. “They have good fundamentals ... We’re going to have to play good offense and defense to beat them — we’ll have to really defend our basket. They still know what they’re doing — they work very well as a unit.”

The Vikings (3-4 overall, 0-1 NFL) dropped their league opener Friday night against Kenmore East, 55-48.

They’ve been getting good inside-outside play from veterans Ashleigh Frieday and Courtney Donovan. Frieday is averaging 24.5 points per game, and she hit five 3-pointers against Kenmore East. The 6-foot Donovan is a force inside as the team’s leading rebounder, also averaging 13 points per game.

“They’re definitely strong under the boards and they know what they need to do,” said Thompson, who expects to be locked up with Donovan all game long. “Offensively, they try to work the ball down low. We have to make sure we keep them boxed out. We have to keep them out of the paint.”

The Wolverines (3-3, 1-0) held off North Tonawanda 49-47 Friday to win their league opener, and they added a 65-37 non-league win over Medina on Monday night.

“Every league game is important,” GI coach Jenepher Banker said. “Niagara Falls has almost everybody back. They’re a talented team and you have to come ready to play. You have to be focused and play well.”

Junior point guard Destiny Harrison leads the Wolverines with 19 points per game. Thompson and Desziray Hall give Niagara Falls size and scoring inside, and Keyonna McTyere can score from anywhere on the court.

Beating the defending league champs on the road and going 2-0 in the league would be a huge step for a team that traditionally has hovered around the .500 mark.

“No matter what, they’re always fundamentally sound,” Niagara Falls coach Martha Amoretti said of the Vikings. “They’re always solid, and I expect them to play a smart, disciplined game. They always do — but I think we’re more than capable of matching up inside. It’s just a matter of doing things correctly.”

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