Nardin finally repels Sharks
Surprise, surprise! Sacred Heart and Nardin played another close one, but unlike the previous five meetings Nardin hit the big shots when it mattered and handed the previously unbeaten Sharks their first loss of the season, 44-38, Wednesday night. The Monsignor Martin girls basketball game pitted the Buffalo News' No. 2 and No. 3 large schools at Canisius High School.
Third-ranked Nardin (12-3, 8-0) had lost every game it played against the Sharks by an average of three points since beating them in the 2005 MMA title game, 56-37. It appeared Sacred Heart's press and grittiness would doom the Gators again, as the Sharks rallied from a 27-21 deficit through three quarters to take a 32-31 lead with three minutes left. But Caroline Hourihan (11 points, six assists) canned a three-pointer with 2:39 left to give Nardin the lead for good. After a defensive stop, Leila Gentile drained a trey to increase the lead to 37-32. Sacred Heart pulled within two with a minute left, but Nardin made its foul shots to hand the Sharks their first league loss since that 2005 final.
Sacred Heart (13-1, 4-1) lost three times last year, twice to Rochester schools and once in the state Catholic semifinals to Archbishop Molloy of New York City. The Sharks beat Nardin in the MMA final last year and earned a win over the Gators in December in the final of the Al and Rose Pastor Tournament.
"We had lost five games by a combined total of 15 points [to them]. We didn't make a lot of big shots when we had to," Gators coach Jake Herlihy said. "Caroline made the three that was huge and made foul shots at the end. . . . I am proud of them. They all stepped up."
Krystal Watson scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half, including seven points in the fourth quarter, for Sacred Heart. Kendra Brim had 13 points and 14 rebounds for Nardin, which led, 18-13, at halftime.
Also in the Monsignor Martin, Amanda Cook's putback with 20 seconds left clinched the win for Nichols, 58-55, over Holy Angels. Cook grabbed 10 boards to go with her six points, while Kaitlin Donahoe had seven assists and a game-high 22 points for the Vikings (13-3, 7-2). But the news wasn't all good for Nichols as the Vikings lost starting center Moriah Camp for the season to a broken leg. Camp, who averaged 13 points and 12 rebounds, suffered the injury during Monday's 61-51 win over Depew.
Ken East's Mills breaks 1,000
Kacie Mills eclipsed 1,000 career points as visiting Kenmore East routed Niagara Falls, 66-39, in a Niagara Frontier League girls basketball game. Mills finished with a game-high 20 points and now has 1,005 in her career.
Steelers' wrestling title hopes alive
Mahfoud Saleh pinned his 145-pound opponent in the final bout of the match Wednesday to earn the decisive point in Lackawanna's 31-30 ECIC III wrestling triumph over Tonawanda. The Steelers improved to 6-1 in the division with the win and the dramatic pin set up a divisional championship showdown Friday when first-place East Aurora visits Lackawanna.
Elsewhere, ECIC tournament champion and No. 2 large school Cheektowaga continued its stellar season by beating No. 10 large school Iroquois, 40-17, to claim its second straight ECIC II title. The Warriors (11-1, 8-0) got pins from Clay Reeb (140), Pat Eck (160) and Matt Weigand (189).
Lancaster (7-0) clinched a tie for the ECIC I wrestling title by routing Frontier, 60-3. Lancaster's Clint Schaefer beat Don Heppner, 6-1, at 119, while David Miller claimed an 8-3 decision at 125 over Frontier's Mike Toole.
Medina inched closer to clinching the Niagara-Orleans title by beating previously unbeaten Newfane, 63-16. Medina (9-0, 6-0) only has to finish fourth or better to clinch a share of the league title during Saturday's league meet at Medina.
*Clarence senior Chris Knoell bowled a 300 game to highlight a 751 series during an ECIC I boys bowling triumph over West Seneca West, 6-1.
*In Niagara Frontier League boys basketball action, Grand Island rolled past Lockport, 65-48, behind Greg Feathers' 26 points. . . . Domonic Cook scored a career-high 29 points in just 18 minutes of work as St. Joe's rebounded from a loss to rival Canisius by routing nonleague host Iroquois, 94-47.