Williamsville North wins big
A big third period keyed Williamsville North to another win in Western New York boys hockey. North scored three goals in the final period to beat Williamsville East, 4-0, at Northtown Center in Amherst on Thursday.
"The big thing was getting pucks to the net," North coach Bob Rosen said. "We created some opportunities and took advantage of them."
Jeff McAndrews scored two goals and Parker Gahagen earned the shutout with 18 saves to improve North's mark to 9-0-1 on the season. Scoring early was a problem for North, which was getting plenty of shots but not cashing in.
But that all changed when McAndrews and Jake Rosen worked a pretty give-and-go during a North offensive cycle. North took the 1-0 lead and then used a big third to pull away. The Spartans scored two goals, one minute apart, to gain distance. And on the power play, one more short-handed goal sealed the win.
So far, just about everything has gone right for North at both ends of the ice. The Spartans are ranked first or second in various state polls.
"We've been able to generate a lot of speed on our transitions and create offensive chances off that," Rosen said. "We've had good goaltending, good defense and a lot of balance."
In other Federation action, Kenmore East (5-4) beat Sweet Home, 7-1, as Steve Gentner recorded a hat trick with one assist. Also, Grand Island (2-3) defeated Niagara Falls, 5-2. For Grand Island, Jack Pilie had two goals and one assist.
Tapestry keeps running, winning
Last year, Tapestry ended its season with a low-scoring, one-point loss.
Upon taking over as the school's new coach, Earl Schunk told his team they'd "never lose 41-40 games again." So far, so good for the Thunderhawks' fast-paced offensive attack. On Thursday, Schunk's team beat Oracle Charter, 81-60, to improve to 8-1 on the season.
A lot of teams try to play fast but as Schunk says, Tapestry has "gotten radical with it."
"The way we play, we want to get in a lot of guys early to take the other team's legs away," said Schunk, who previously coached at Grover Cleveland. "In the middle of the second and into the third quarter, we get them to play fast and can pull away."
That's what happened against Oracle when Tapestry turned a nine-point lead into a 30-point advantage. Senior point guard Dazmon Knight scored 21 points and had eight assists. Jordan Connell notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Daryll Hollins had 10 points and seven steals.
Tapestry's full-court press has been key all season, leading one of the highest-scoring teams in the area. Still, Schunk sees room for improvement.
"We're not where we want to be yet," he said. "We don't execute offensively as much as we want yet."
Dejan Cooper led Oracle Charter (3-7) with 14 points.
Lockport boys, girls hang on
Lockport wasn't perfect but played well underneath to top Kenmore East, 67-58, in Niagara Frontier League boys action. The win evens the Lions' conference record at 2-2.
Coach David Gilson wasn't pleased with his team's overall defensive effort but said Lockport is playing safer basketball. With one of the more taller teams Gilson has had, the Lions controlled the game down low.
"We just had consistent play," Gilson said. "We didn't turn it over a ton and defensively we tried to hold our man in check."
Six-foot-3 Andrew Bailey and 6-4 Nick DiMartile had solid games in the frontcourt. Bailey scored 14 points and had six rebounds, while DiMartile added 13 points and 11 boards. Also, Deantre Cullins finished with 11 and six steals.
Lockport (4-3) did have trouble containing Kenmore East's P.J. Blanch. The junior broke loose for 22 points on the strength of four three-pointers to keep Kenmore East (4-4, 1-3) in the game. "We're very streaky," Gilson said. "We're very up and down. We need to continue to work hard on defense. We've showed signs but we need to be more consistent."
On the girls side, Lockport (6-0) stayed undefeated with a 52-45 win over Kenmore East (6-1). Marisa Guyton scored 20 points and Emma Sobieraski added 17 as the duo combined for 24 rebounds.
"We went inside on them," Lockport girls coach Bill Shaw said. "It's something we didn't do a good job of in the first three quarters. They packed it in defensively but when we hit some shots outside, it opened up underneath."
Lockport outscored Kenmore East 13-6 in the fourth.
Will North girls make plays late
A strong fourth quarter nearly lifted Frontier girls team to a big upset, and its first ECIC Division I win. But instead big plays late keyed Williamsville North in a 43-38 win.
Nikki Attea scored 15 points and Victoria Krantz had 12 for North (5-4, 3-1). Frontier fell to 2-7 and 0-4 in the league.
Trailing by 12, Frontier made a big push in the fourth, outscoring North, 18-11. But with less than a minute left, Jenny Piaggione hit 1 of 2 free throws to extend the lead to three. North got the ball back and to seal it, Attea grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it back in to put her team up five with 30 seconds to go.
For Frontier, sophomore Natalie Galus finished with 15 points.
Elsewhere in girls action, Sweet Home defeated West Seneca East, 44-29. Down 13-12 at the half, Sweet Home scored 32 second-half points to pull away. Chelsee Williams scored 15 points in the win. A big second quarter lifted St. Mary's/Lancaster to a 50-45 win over Lancaster. St. Mary's outscored Lancaster, 14-1, in the pivotal quarter. For the game, Raeann Stilwell scored 23 points. Teammate K.C. Sokolski added 13 points and 14 rebounds in the win.