HENRIETTA – A wonderful season came to an difficult end for Lake Shore on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles, fresh off a memorable win in the overall Section VI Class A championship game in girls basketball on Wednesday night, saw the flip side of playoff basketball. They were bounced out of the Far West Regionals with a 61-30 loss to Our Lady of Mercy at Rush-Henrietta High School.
“They’re good,” Eagles coach Andrea Conrad said. “We had some film and we scouted them, and we knew how good they are. They’re so strong and huge and talented, we knew we’d be in trouble if we didn’t box out under the boards.”
It didn’t take long for the Monarchs to set the tone in the game. After Raeann White of Lake Shore scored the first basket of the game, a three-pointer no less, Mercy wasted little time in getting into high gear. Mercy ran off the next 16 points to take command.
Only one of the Bulldogs’ baskets came from more than a few feet away. Sometimes the Monarchs simply kept pushing the ball up toward the rim a few times until it finally dropped through the net.
At the other end, 6-foot-1 Jayla Myles and 6-foot Katie Titus were either swatting away Lake Shore shots or making the Eagles think twice about even trying something around the basket.
“I think after a while, we started to panic a bit,” Conrad said. “We got away from what had worked for us.”
Mercy had an 18-6 lead after the first quarter, and stretched it to 29-11 with 3:30 left in the half. The burst was interrupted by six straight points by Lake Shore, their longest run of the game and one of only two times in which it scored two straight field goals.
Then, just to dash any thoughts of a comeback in the second half, Mercy scored the first 12 points of the third quarter to go up, 47-19. It was just a matter of running out the string from there.
After Wednesday’s stirring comeback against Williamsville South, Lake Shore had only a few days to enjoy the feeling.
“This was our goal,” Conrad said about reaching the Far West Regionals. “We had a lot of faith that we could get here if we stuck together.
“The problem was that we picked this game to have our worst game of the season.”
The Monarchs offered a very balanced attack. Leah Koonmen and Titus both finished with 14 points, while Traiva Breedlove had 13 points and Myles added 12. White led Lake Shore with seven points, while Tashawni Cornfield finished with six.
The Eagles were left thinking about what might be to come. Lake Shore graduates only one senior from the roster, and four players – including two starters – haven’t even started high school yet because they are eighth graders.
“You always have to remember that unless you’re the state champion, you have to lose somewhere along the way,” Conrad said. “But it’s been a remarkable year.”