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High School Extra (Feb. 19): Emerson sizzles, advances to sectional semifinals

Emerson reaches B-2 semis

They’ve been learning to cook for years in the classroom, but the Emerson Eagles showed Thursday night they can whip up a winning recipe on the basketball court in a playoff game.

The Canisius Cup champion and top-seeded Eagles advanced to the Section VI Class B-2 girls basketball semifinals by defeating No. 8 Roy-Hart, 57-36, during a busy day of quarterfinal action.

The playoff win is Emerson’s first during fourth-year coach Lenny Dowell’s tenure. He also doesn’t recall the team winning a postseason game during his 10 years working at Emerson.

“I’m extremely excited,” said Dowell, who said last week after the Eagles clinched the Canisius Cup that making a deep run into sectionals was the team’s goal. “It’s a huge relief but we got the first victory.”

Emerson played multiple zone defenses and use that to fuel its offense against a Rams team playing its second game in as many nights. Janae Brannon had a fine all-around game for the Eagles, finishing with 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds, while Raven Chamberlain added 11 points. Nautica Weatherspoon (eight points, nine boards) and DaVyne Brown combined for 16 rebounds.

Triple-double leads GI

On Grand Island, a triple-double and good start provided the spark the Vikings needed to defeat Hutch-Tech, 51-37, in a Class A-1 girls quarterfinal.

No. 4 GI led 18-8 after one quarter and cruised from there against the No. 5 seed. Dakaylah Winfield recorded 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals for the winners. Sam Bailey added 14 rebounds as the Vikings earned a semifinal date versus defending state champ and No. 1 seed Williamsville South.

Also in A-1, Erica Martinsen poured in 25 points to lead No. 2 Williamsville East past seventh-seeded North Tonawanda, 66-32.

Milestone and upsets

In other Section VI girls basketball tournament action, sixth-seeded Cheektowaga surprised No. 3 seed Amherst, 43-39, in Class A-2.

Kenetria Redfern lead the Warriors with 22 points and 12 rebounds and surpassed 1,000 points for her career. She now has 1,006, as Cheektowaga overcame a 33-27 deficit through three quarters to reach the semifinals once again. Ranya Rumph added 10 points for Cheektowaga, while Claire Wanzer finished with 20 for Amherst.

Caitlyn Mason scored eight of her game-high 23 points during Barker’s huge fourth quarter as the No. 7 Raiders rallied to beat second-seeded host Portville, 59-56, in Class C-2. Barker outscored its foe 21-12 during the final eight minutes. It faces No. 3 Frewsburg in the semifinals.

Hamburg, South advance

In a boys Section VI Division II prequarterfinal, Hamburg advanced with ease by crushing Amherst, 13-2, at Northtown Center. Owen Gonter had three goals and an assist, while Bobby Slemmer recorded two goals and two assists for the Bulldogs. ... Jeff Browne scored twice, while Alex Fix had a goal and two assists during Williamsville South’s 4-0 win over Sweet Home.

Nwora nets milestone

Jordan Nwora poured in a game-high 29 points and reached 1,000 points during his two-year Park career as the Pioneers beat Nichols, 72-38, in Monsignor Martin boys basketball.

In Section VI B-1 play, CSAT beat Albion, 71-59, behind Shaun Wilson’s 22 points.

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