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Williamsville South avenges loss with blowout win over Mendon in Class A Far West Regionals

Williamsville South’s girls basketball team picked a good day to play its best game of the season. So good it was darn near perfect.

With a season-opening 69-46 loss to Section V’s Pittsford Mendon in the back of their minds, the Billies came out as aggressive as they have all season and avenged that defeat with a 65-47 win over the Vikings in the Class A Far West Regionals at Rush-Henrietta Saturday.

“We knew we had to come here and play a perfect game to beat that team,” South coach Kristen Dolan said. “They’re a heck of a group, and I’m just proud of my girls in there because we executed our game plan. We spent a lot of time the past two days going over what we needed to do to make sure we executed defensively and offensively.”

South spread it around with ease offensively, as all six players on the score sheet had at least five points. Six-foot-5 freshman Amari DeBerry led the way with a game-high 18. Sophomore Hannah Dolan scored 16 and senior Lauren Lassiter added 11.

“Yeah, it’s with every team, the game plan is usually to try to get in my head and try and get me annoyed and make me foul out,” said DeBerry, who scored only two points and fouled out early in the first meeting. “But when they’re just hanging on that, it opens up everybody else. They’re so focused on me but the rest of our team gets to shoot and drive. If I do get the ball, I can either score, I can kick it out. It doesn’t really affect us.”

Defensively, Amari DeBerry’s mere presence altered shots in the lane, while older sister Naomi DeBerry (five points) and Tatyjana Scalisi (eight points) helped pick up the scraps on the boards.

“I think this is definitely the best game we played together as a team,” Lassiter said. “Our offense was really clicking no matter what they would throw at us, and our defense has improved so much.”

If South plays as well as it did Saturday, that’s bad news for the rest of the teams in next weekend’s NYSPHSAA final four in Troy. The Billies (19-5) take on Section VIII’s Elmont Memorial Friday at 8 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College.

The last time the Billies made it to the state semifinals, they came away with the 2015 Class A state title.

“This is our season now,” said Lassiter, who was a freshman on that team three years ago. “We’re just gonna go play that one game and if we win that we’ll go to the next one. Our season’s not over and we’re all very excited to continue.”

Despite playing with an injured right thumb, Amari DeBerry scored eight of South’s first 14 points of the game and Lassiter drained a pair of treys in the last 41 seconds of the first quarter to put the Billies up, 20-7.

“My adrenaline was going, but I wasn’t really focused on it,” DeBerry said. “I guess it helped me play better, knowing that I really had to focus on every shot I took to make sure it went in.”

The Billies opened the second quarter on a 14-5 run, which included Lassiter’s third three and five points off the bench from Grace Stahl (seven points). The Vikings ended the half on an 8-3 spurt to bring the score to 37-20.

South and Mendon traded baskets until the midway point of the third quarter, when Dolan scored six of her eight points of the frame and Amari DeBerry hit a three-pointer from straight away to extend South’s lead to 57-34.

Mendon pulled within 16, 61-45, with about three minutes left but it was too little too late. Sarah Stark was the only Viking (23-2) in double figures with 10 points.

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