Weekly Feature



2018-02-14 / Sports

Girls hoops tops 70 in fourth straight game

Clarence’s girls basketball team put up 70 or more points for the fourth time in as many games on Feb. 5 when it blasted Williamsville North, 74-34, behind what coach Erin Booker believes what might be a team record for most three pointers made in a game.

Kayla Callaghan scored a career-high 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from behind the three-point arc to lead the charge for Clarence, which as a program never kept track of team three-point baskets in a single game. Gabby Andzel, one of the team’s three seniors who were recognized in a ceremony before tipping off this year’s Senior Night game, also scored all of her points on the night from behind the three-point line, connecting three times to record nine points along with her five rebounds.

Five other Lady Red Devils also made a single trifecta to help Clarence maintain its offensive dominance of late.

“We had a huge game against Jamestown where we scored in the 70s against them prior to the North rematch, and that was awesome, especially after losing to them earlier in the year,” Booker said. “And with our guards leading the way against North this time, that in itself was huge. They stayed in a tight 2-3 zone to try and keep the ball out of the post, and we answered with some great outside shooting. I was really surprised that they didn’t switch their defense up in the second half, but we continued to take what they gave us.

“It was just a great confidence booster for the guards and an awesome team effort all around.”

Senior Ella Eckert led the way for Clarence – which broke open what had been a 30-18 game at the half with a 24-5 run over the course of the third quarter – with 18 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists. Fellow senior Carly Reynolds added 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Theresa Bienko chipped in with seven points and five rebounds.

Things didn’t go nearly as well in Clarence’s first meeting of the season with Lancaster on Thursday, as Haley Kirisits found herself in position to be the Lady Legends’ hero with under 10 seconds to play in what was ultimately Lancaster’s 48-45 victory.

Clarence, which began the fourth quarter down 37-35 after rallying from a 29-21 halftime deficit, found itself battling back and forth with Lancaster throughout the fourth quarter of a game in which very few fouls were called on either team. Up two with around 40 seconds to play in regulation, a mental mistake on an offensive rebound – and the miss of the second attempt at a basket – put in motion the circumstances that led to Eckert fouling out of the game.

Eckert picked up her fourth foul of the game when Lancaster rebounded Clarence’s missed putback attempt, and when the Lady Legends collected the intentionally missed second free throw after coming up short on the first shot, Eckert picked up her disqualifying foul in the process. This time Lancaster made both free throws to knot the game at 45-45.

Clarence ultimately had three attempts at inbounding the ball with under 10 seconds to play in the game, starting with around seven seconds to go, and though the first two attempts were unsuccessful they at least didn’t result in loss of the ball. The third attempt, with 2.7 seconds left, proved fatal for the Lady Red Devils’ chances as the ball was tipped into Kirisits’ hands at half court. Kirisits had the presence of mind to heave the ball toward the basket and, as luck would have it for the Lady Legends, Kirisits’ shot went in to give them the win.

“We definitely had opportunities in the end, but seven seconds just goes so Ella Eckert focuses on the basket on her way to a layup as Lancaster’s Sara Wagner tries to slow her down defensively during the Lady Red Devils’ 48-45 loss Thursday. Photo by Don DalyPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Ella Eckert focuses on the basket on her way to a layup as Lancaster’s Sara Wagner tries to slow her down defensively during the Lady Red Devils’ 48-45 loss Thursday. Photo by Don DalyPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com quickly,” Booker said. “I’m happy with the way we came out and played in the second half – we went on a nice run and things were going our way with us not giving up second chances or turning the ball over – but things ultimately just didn’t go our way in the end. It was a real physical game under the basket, and we just didn’t get the calls we were looking for in the first half.”

Both Eckert (16 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals) and Bienko (8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) scored 13 points each to lead Clarence, which finished 3-of-5 at the free-throw line to Lancaster’s 7-of-11 effort. Reynolds added 10 points, 12 rebounds and a block, while Callaghan finished with six points, two rebounds and two steals.

Clarence (11-7, 6-4 ECIC I) had another shot at Lancaster Monday, but information about that contest was not available at press time. The Lady Red Devils close out their regular season Thursday at Frontier.

“We’ve just got to keep playing strong defense, keep crashing the boards and continue to not give teams second chances under the basket,” Booker said. “We also need to take care of the ball, which is particularly tough in Frontier on a small court with their high intensity press. I think it just comes down to playing with confidence.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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