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Girls basketball preview: Far West Regionals & state Catholic semifinals

Section V girls basketball teams historically haven’t had much trouble dispatching its Section VI opposition in the Far West Regionals.

Rochester-area schools come into Saturday’s games at Rush-Henrietta High School leading the all-time series with a record of 103-59. In the last three years, however, Western New York has held its own and is a respectable 8-7.

Section VI won four of the five matchups at SUNY Buffalo State in 2015, including Williamsville South while on its way to a NYSPHSAA Class A title. Buffalo-area schools have gone 2-3 each of the last two years.

The most local success has come in Class D. Of the 13 state championships won by Section VI, eight have been in the smallest classification. Clymer won in 2010, while Pine Valley claimed seven in a 15-year span from 1991-2005. Panama was the state runner-up each of the last two seasons.

Other state champions include Chautauqua Lake (2014 Class C), East Aurora (2007 Class B), Lockport (1994 Class A) and Salamanca (1988 Class C).

Here’s a look at the what the eight Western New York girls basketball teams left are up against this weekend:

Class AA

Orchard Park (22-1) is coming off its second sectional title and first since 1997 with an impressive 57-22 win over Frontier Wednesday night.

Forward Sam Fischer is a double-double machine and point guard Danielle Hore is capable of controlling the flow of the game, whether that be in a half-court set with her vision or pushing the ball up the floor.

The Quakers know they’ll have their hands full against Rochester private school Bishop Kearney (18-4). The Kings are 6-0 against some of the top teams in Western New York. That includes two wins each over Cardinal O’Hara and Williamsville South, as well as wins over Sacred Heart and Amherst. The average margin of victory was 21 points.

Four players average double figures scoring for Kearney, led by freshman Saniaa Wilson (15.6 ppg). Senior Allure Simmons (14.6 ppg) was the Section V tournament MVP.

Clarence held its own last year in a 47-40 loss against V-Our Lady of Mercy, which the Kings beat in the final to avenge two of their four losses this season.

Orchard Park dominates in winning first girls basketball title since 1997

Class A

Williamsville South (18-5) beat Main Street rival Amherst Wednesday night, 62-43, to return to the regional stage for the first time since its 2015 state-championship run.

Lauren Lassiter is the lone holdover from that group. Her and Naomi DeBerry provide senior leadership for the Billies, while 6-foot-5 freshman Amari DeBerry and sophomore point guard Hannah Dolan have been excellent offensively this postseason. Junior Tatyjana Scalisi is relentless on the boards.

Next up is a familiar foe in Pittsford Mendon (23-1). The Billies opened their season with a 69-46 loss at the Vikings, but they were without Lassiter and Naomi DeBerry that day. Amari DeBerry was also held to two points because of foul trouble.

Mendon, last year’s state runner-up, has a pair of 300-point scorers in freshman guard Lexi Green and junior forward Alana Fursman.

With Dolan in fold, South girls flip script and beat rival Amherst for overall Class A title

Class B

Franklinville isn’t the only undefeated team heading into the Far West Regionals. Fredonia’s opponent, Midlakes, is perfect at 24-0.

Junior guard Alaina Forbes is the top scorer in Section V, averaging 25 points per game. She surpassed 600 points on the season in a 70-40 win over Bath in the Class B final last Saturday.

The Hillbillies (13-12) won their eighth game in their last nine in a thrilling 42-39 win over Southwestern Wednesday. Despite losing four seniors with a combined 14 years of varsity experience, coach Carol Zirkle’s crew has a shot at returning to the state final four for the second year in a row.

Senior standout Katie Price was held to just two points in the first half against Southwestern but exploded for 14 over the final 16 minutes. Hannah Gullo and Kazlin Beers are both solid at guard, while Gracie Morrison and A'Cetta Farriat do a lot of the dirty work inside.

Fredonia embraces underdog role, repeats as Class B girls basketball champs

Class C

Allegany-Limestone (22-1) takes its 17-game winning streak into Saturday’s matchup with South Seneca (21-4).

The Gators are a deep team with six players averaging at least five points per game. Six-foot-1 senior Morgan Davis averages 18.5 points and 13.2 rebounds per outing, while classmate Brooke Giardini adds 13.9 ppg.

The Falcons have won seven in a row and 18 of their last 19 since starting the season 3-3. They also receive balanced scoring with five players averaging between 7.3 and 12 ppg. Guard Skylar Shaulis is a 300-point scorer, while 6-foot center Jade Parsons averages a double-double.

Franklinville girls basketball solves riddle of Panama to win Class D; A-L takes Class C crown

Class D

Franklinville (23-0) coach Allan Dunlap is expecting its matchup against Elba (21-3) to be a contrast in styles.

The Panthers like to get up and down the floor with their three-headed monster of Danielle Haskell, Allyson Haskell and Abby McCoy.

The Lancers slowed the game down and played a lot of zone in the Class D final, but Dunlap has watched film that showed him they do have the ability to play man and a bit faster. Elba features a few young guards and a nice post player in 5-foot-10 senior Emily Reynolds.

With Panama hurdle cleared, Franklinville has sights set on state girls basketball title

NYSCHSAA playoffs

The same three Monsignor Martin teams are making their way downstate for the state Catholic tournament. Cardinal O’Hara and Nardin both lost in their respective semifinals last season, while Sacred Heart fell in the Class A championship game.

O’Hara and St. Anthony’s head into the Class AA semifinals coming off convincing league finals. The Hawks won their 89th straight game over Western New York competition against Sacred Heart, 62-46. The Friars blew out St. Mary’s, 60-34, after losing to the same team by 10 two weeks prior.

Junior guard Angel Parker and Eastern Michigan-bound senior Kiara Johnson, a 6-foot-2 center/forward, are the top players on a Hawks team that plays all eight of its players on the roster. St. Anthony’s Sydney Taylor, Lauren Hackett and Tamia Lawhorne all average at least 11 points.

O'Hara tops Sacred Heart; Hawks' O'Neil plans to step down

The Sharks won a state title in 2016 and finished as the runner-up last year. Senior Micaela Ryan and her younger sister, sophomore Siobhan Ryan, are great athletes on the wings and junior Jennifer Grimm provides an inside presence.

Their opponent, Our Lady of Mercy, is led by 5-foot-7 senior Lauren Hammersley. The point guard averages 20 points and was named the CHSAA Class A Player of the Year following a 38-33 comeback win over St. John the Baptist.

The Gators are back in the state tournament even though they graduated six seniors. The lone returning starter, junior Lindsay Karas, earned MVP honors of the Monsignor Martin Class B final. St. Dominic’s Sarah Buonaguro (28 points) and Catherine McAuliffe combined to score 49 of the team’s 75 points in the Class B downstate final.

Friday night’s winners advance to Saturday’s championship tripleheader at Fordham University.

Nardin runs away from Park, repeats as Monsignor Martin Class B girls basketball champs

This weekend’s complete girls basketball schedule:

Far West Regionals
Saturday at Rush-Henrietta

Class A: Williamsville South vs. V-Pittsford Mendon, 11 a.m.
Class AA: Orchard Park vs. V-Bishop Kearney, 1 p.m.
Class D: Franklinville vs. V-Elba, 3 p.m.
Class C: Allegany-Limestone vs. V-South Seneca, 5 p.m.
Class B: Fredonia vs. V-Midlakes, 7 p.m.

NYSCHSAA playoffs

Class AA semifinals
Friday at St. Raymond High School (Bronx)
Cardinal O’Hara vs. St. Anthony’s, 5 p.m.
Christ the King vs. Cardinal Spellman, 6:45 p.m.
Class AA final
Saturday at Fordham University, 7 p.m.

Class A semifinals
Friday at Holy Cross High School (Queens)
Sacred Heart vs. Our Lady of Mercy, 5 p.m.
St. Joseph vs. St. John Villa, 6:45 p.m.
Class A final
Saturday at Fordham University, 5 p.m.

Class B semifinals
Friday at Holy Trinity High School (Long Island)
St. Saviour vs. Aquinas, 6 p.m.
Nardin vs. St. Dominic, 7:45 p.m.
Class B final
Saturday at Fordham University, 3 p.m.

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