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NYSPHSAA Class A girls basketball preview: Williamsville South vs. Elmont Memorial

Who: Williamsville South Billies (19-5) vs. VIII-Elmont Memorial Spartans (22-2).

What: New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association Class A final four.

When: Friday at 8 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.

NYS Sportswriters Rankings (as of March 8): Elmont Memorial is ranked No. 4. Williamsville South is No. 7.

How they got here: The Billies beat Amherst in the Section VI overall Class A final, 62-43, and played possibly their best game of the season last Saturday in a 65-47 win over V-Pittsford Mendon, which beat South in the first game of the season, 69-46. The last time the team made the final four, in 2015, it came away with a state title.

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

Elmont blew out Section XI’s Hauppauge, 56-30, to win its second straight Long Island championship and return to the state semifinals, where it lost to eventual state champion III-Jamesville-Dewitt last year, 70-42.

Williamsville South key players: Freshman Amari DeBerry, 6-5 (17.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.3 bpg); sophomore Hannah Dolan, 5-10 (11.5 ppg, 4.9 apg, 2.9 spg); senior Lauren Lassiter, 5-11 (11.4 ppg); junior Tatyjana Scalisi, 5-11 (10.1 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 3.0 spg); senior Naomi DeBerry, 5-11 (5.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg).

Elmont Memorial scouting report: To South coach Kristen Dolan, the team Elmont reminds her most of is Cardinal O’Hara. The Spartans use their quickness and aggressiveness to play a pressuring full-court defense, which sparked a 35-4 run their last game that spanned from the end of the first to the middle of the third quarter to take a 43-7 lead.

The Billies know all about that relentless style, having lost a close 55-51 game to O'Hara, Western New York’s No. 1 team a month ago.

Senior Jada Fernandez had 16 points in the quarterfinals and classmate Kem Nwabudu added 14 for Elmont. Senior Zhaneia Thybulle leads the team in scoring average this season at 16.9 ppg. They're an experienced group with five seniors and seven juniors.

Next: The winner will advance to Saturday’s championship game at 8:45 p.m. against either III-Jamesville-DeWitt or IV-Seton Catholic Central.

Blend of experience, youth guides Williamsville South girls basketball on state title run

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