JAMESTOWN - The big people usually have an edge over the small people when it comes to basketball.
Such was the case in the Class C-1 girls basketball final in Section VI play on Saturday night. A bigger Allegany-Limestone (20-2) used its height advantage to good effect, and took a 47-36 decision from Cleveland Hill at Jamestown Community College. The game was a battle of the top two seeds in the class, with A-L serving as the No. 1 team in the rankings.
In the C-2 final, No. 1 Holland defeated No. 3 Frewsburg, 58-42. That means A-L and Holland will meet on Tuesday night for the overall Class C title.
It’s been a seven-year wait for Coach Frank Martin of Allegany-Limestone to get this far, but now he has six sectional crowns to his credit.
“We’ve always made it to the semifinals, but the last one we won was in 2009,” he said. “You learn to appreciate just how hard it is.”
The “twin towers” of Morgan Davis and Allison Forness were the dominant figures of the game. Both are 6-feet. Second shots were hard to come by for Cleveland Hill (18-5), and it was enough of an edge to propel the Gators to the win.
Cleveland Hill was the Class B-2 champion last season, but changed classifications entering this season.
Cleveland Hill closed to within three points at the half, but Davis took over the game after that. Held to only four points in the first half, Davis received the ball in good shooting position, and converted again and again. She finished the third quarter with 10 points, and the Gators’ lead was a much more comfortable 32-21.
“Morgan always plays hard, and she blocks a lot of shots,” Martin said.
Allegany-Limestone made its free throws down the stretch to wrap it up. Davis and Forness had 14 points each, while Sarah DeCapua had 12. Kiley Kinney had only two turnovers in leading the offense.
For Cleveland Hill, Sydney Turley had 11 points.
Holland will present a different set of problems than Cleveland Hill for A-L.
The Lady Dutchmen also never trailed Saturday. They used good defense and some full-court pressure to take a 9-0 lead before four minutes had elapsed. Frewsburg never recovered from that first punch.
“Every team that wins talks about rebounding,” coach Daniel Parker of Holland said. “We don’t want to see them get second and third opportunities. We have to rebound and get the ball to a safe place so we can advance it up the court.”
From there, the Lady Dutchmen relied on the work of one of Western New York’s top player, Olivia Schmidt, to take charge. She rolled up 33 points in a commanding performance; the best basket of the night came on a something of a blind half-hook while getting fouled.
“She’s a wonderful player,” Parker said. “She not only handles the ball well, and she sees so much of the court. She finds people with her vision and basketball knowledge.”
It’s the first Section VI title in girls basketball for Holland.
“This has been a great group of seniors - Olivia, Alicia Massara and Jenna Lewis have been with us for a few years now,” Parker said. “We were in the final last year, and we got a taste, and we didn’t like the bitter taste of defeat. I’m awfully happy to give these kids a chance to win.”
“I told the girls to enjoy this one and tomorrow, and then it’s back to work on Monday,” Martin said. “This time of the year, teams have a series of goals. The further you go, the more invested you get.”