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High School Extra: Orchard Park girls survive scare to stay perfect; Sweet Home boys win after halfcourt shot

Orchard Park, the News’ No. 3 girls basketball team, survived a 47-46 scare from No. 9 Clarence on Thursday to remain unbeaten at 13-0 overall and 5-0 in ECIC I.

OP missed all four of its free throws in the fourth quarter and was outscored 12-8 in the frame, but got one last defensive stop when it needed it most.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Quakers coach Gary Janas said. “We’re not where we need to be. ... Even though our record is undefeated, we have a target on our back and we’re not the team yet that can bask in that.”

Jenna Probst gave the Quakers the lead with 49 seconds to play, but Clarence had a chance to win the game in the final seconds. The Red Devils missed their first attempt but got the ball after a tie-up with 1.7 seconds left. Orchard Park’s 6-foot-2 eighth grader Madison Stevenson was effective in screening the inbounds pass, and that made things harder for Clarence’s Carly Reynolds, who wasn’t able to catch the pass in a good position and couldn’t get her potential winning shot to fall.

Danielle Hore scored 17 points for OP and had seven steals while Sam Fischer added 15 points and eight rebounds. Ella Rose Eckert scored a game-high 20 in the losing effort and Reynolds had 13.

John connects from deep as Sweet home prevails

Sweet Home’s Evan John hit a career-high six three-pointers to lift the Panthers to a 55-50 overtime victory against Williamsville East, but none was bigger than his long-distance buzzer-beater at the end of regulation.

Trailing by three with three seconds to go, John received an inbounds pass and took two dribbles before launching a shot from just beyond halfcourt. He nailed it, and the Panthers knew they couldn’t lose then.

“Guys came in and they were jacked up, they were saying, ‘This is our game,’” coach Brandon Woods said. “When something like that happens, it’s almost, like, divine, right?”

John finished with 22 points as Sweet Home outscored East 9-4 in OT. Maurice Robertson had nine rebounds, nine assists and four steals.

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FLOP holds on, clinches

Defending girls hockey champion Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park clinched the No. 1 seed in the sectional playoffs by holding off a late rally from Williamsville to win, 3-2.

FLOP went up 3-0 in the third period after Jessica Peters and Gabby DeMeo set up Emily Kromer, but the game wasn’t near finished. Williamsville roared back and drew within one on Amanda Gaffney’s power-play goal with 3:56 to play. FLOP took a late penalty but was able to hold off a 6-on-4 attack for the final 90 seconds.

FLOP can also clinch the top seed in the Federation playoffs by beating Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home on Monday. The sectional playoffs begin Feb. 1.

Slocum reaches 1,000

Holland’s Cassidy Slocum became the fifth girl in program history to break the 1,000-point barrier in a 59-30 win over Alden that kept Holland unbeaten in ECIC IV play.

Slocum scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the victory while Kaitlyn Bulega scored 11 points and Abby King added nine. Slocum reached the milestone in the third quarter by making a basket and converting on the ensuing free throw.

“She’s a double-double machine,” coach Samuel Arnold said of his 5-foot-10 senior, who is headed to play at Brockport next year.

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