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High School Extra (Feb. 6): Kenmore/Grand Island takes girls’ hockey semi

Kenmore/GI takes hockey semi

Kenmore/Grand Island is one game away from taking its first New York State championship.

The Western New York representative beat Canton of Section X, 4-3, in a semifinal game played in Albany. What seemed like an easy win turned into a near-nightmare.

Kenmore/GI had a 4-0 lead after two periods, as Olivia Smith had two goals and Lina Mirabella and Abigail Blair had one each. But Blake Orosz, who will play at RIT next season, led a Canton comeback that cut the lead to 4-3.

“We have a flair for the dramatic,” coach Jeff Orlowski said. “But we fought through it, and we settled down at the end.”

The championship game will be played Saturday at noon against Section III’s Alexandria Bay.

No. 1s both pass huge tests

Both top-ranked teams in the Buffalo News’ boys basketball polls survived huge scares on Friday night.

Canisius hung on to earn a 59-58 win over St. Francis in overtime. Stafford Trueheart had a big night with 27 points to help push the Crusaders to the win. Julian Cunningham had 19 points for the Red Raiders.

“These games are good for us,” Canisius coach Kyle Husband said. “We have to bounce back. This is go time now. We can’t have any hiccups.”

Meanwhile, the No. 1 small school had a bigger scare. Olean went to double overtime to beat Fredonia, 64-62. Ben Eckstrom tied the game late in overtime, and Jake Cavana’s steal and basket with two seconds to go kept the Huskies undefeated.

Elijah Ramadhan scored 21 points to lead Olean. Jacob Cavana and Ben Eckstrom added 12 points each for the Huskies. Patrick Moore led the Hillbillies with 18 points.

Olean’s girls team, the No. 1 team among small schools in the poll, had lost its first game of the season to Fredonia on Thursday night.

Park overpowers Timon

When Park is lined up against an opponent that’s not Canisius, the Pioneers’ overall size is quite noticeable.

It should be because the Pioneers have three players standing 6-foot-6 or better. Besides their nemesis, the News’ No. 1 Large School, there aren’t many teams with that many big men to match up with the area’s second-ranked team.

Bishop Timon-St. Jude didn’t match up well against them, as the trio of 6-6 Jordan Nwora, 6-8 Joe Jones and 7-footer Chris Efretuei helped a somewhat understaffed Park crew overpower the host Tigers, 72-57, in Monsignor Martin boys basketball.

With the Pioneers (15-2, 7-2) missing a couple of key players due to academic ineligibility, Efretuei found himself in the starting lineup – giving Park a twin-towers look. Efretuei grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds to go with 10 points and eight blocks, Jones had 14 points, 13 boards and four blocks and Nwora grabbed 11 boards.

“They made a huge impact,” Park coach Mike Battaglia said.

When Timon pulled within 54-49 with 4:03 left, Park freshman Noah Hutchins scored three straight baskets, the final one a steal and layup with 3:07 left that put the Pioneers back up 11.

Quinton Lamar had 17 points to lead Timon (11-8, 6-3), which has won seven of its last 11 games.

Cleveland Hill claims title

Another year, another division title for the Cleveland Hill basketball team. The Golden Eagles won their fifth straight ECIC IV crown on Friday night, as they defeated JFK, 68-45. Rodney White led Cleveland Hill with 16 points, while Paul Majerowski had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Paul Majerowski had seven rebounds. Kenai Jordan led the Bears with 14 points.

Kenmore West moves up with win

Kenmore West picked up a huge win in the Niagara Frontier League, as the Blue Devils knocked off Lockport, 46-40. The teams are now tied with 11-2 conference records.

Wilson’s girls basketball team clinched its seventh straight Niagara-Orleans title. The Lakewomen defeated Barker, 60-28. Wilson has won 57 straight conference games. The squad was led by Rachel Senek, who had 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and seven steals.

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