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IROQUOIS ONE STEP AWAY

The only team standing in Iroquois' way of a second consecutive Section VI Class B title is one the Chiefs already beaten by 25 points this season.

The doesn't mean Iroquois girls basketball coach Jack Hurley is clearing a spot for the trophy just yet.

The Chiefs (20-3) will face Olean (18-5) on Saturday after both teams won titles in Wednesday's Class B-1 and Class B-2 finals played before 560 at Erie CC's Flickinger Center.

Iroquois disposed of a sluggish Williamsville East team, 40-29, to win the Class B-1 title, while Olean dominated East Aurora, 77-52, for its first Class B-2 crown since 1993.

In their only meeting this season, Iroquois beat Olean, 60-35, in the Festival of Lights Tournament on Dec. 1.

"They've gotten faster. We actually outran them in the first game, but I think they could outrun us (now)," said Hurley. "Against their press I don't see much of a problem with it if we run our press offense correctly. We can't panic at all."

It was a very composed and focused group that greeted Williamsville East. The Chiefs ran down the long rebounds, got to the loose balls first and generally outplayed the Flames.

"I thought we had a good chance to win tonight," said Flames coach Chris Durr. "But you can't score 29 points and expect to beat anybody at this point. We didn't stop their big player (Eva Cunningham) and they stopped ours (Lindsay Brent)."

Cunningham finished with 23 points on 9-of-22 shooting, including all 16 of her team's points in the third quarter. Brent was a non-factor, finishing with a quiet 11 points. Defensively, the Chiefs used their pair of 6-footers, Val Jacobs and Val Argauer, to keep Brent off her game. Argauer's contributions also included six steals and Jacobs had eight rebounds.

The game was a tight one in the first half. East led, 8-6, after the first quarter and by 16-14 at the half. But when Cunningham emerged from the locker room early for a little extra shooting before the start of the second half, she found the touch she was looking for.

Williamsville East, winner of Class A-2 last year and Class B-1 the two previous years, finishes 20-3.

Olean, with its collection of point-guard sized players, used its press and team speed to make quick work of East Aurora. The Huskies forced 23 turnovers in the first half, many of which they turned into easy layups.

"That's been our game all year long," said Olean coach Martha Altmire. "My feeling is we'll wear you down, and I just wanted to keep putting the pressure on to create turnovers. I've been able to go deep with this group. We're very balanced."

Nine different players scored for Olean, led by junior Meghan McAllister with 18. Senior Katie Estes added 15 points, 11 rebounds and six steals and sophomore Katy Irving added 13 points. Sophomore Karolyn Baker finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

The Huskies built a 22-11 lead after the first quarter and held a 38-23 advantage at the half. The margin swelled to 60-37 after three.

Sarah Bishop led the Blue Devils (19-4) with 16 points and Jana Miller added 10.

The points will be tougher to come by the next time Olean takes the ECC floor against Iroquois, which is ranked No. 9 in the state in Class B.

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