It's going to be an all-Niagara Frontier League final when the Section VI Class A girls basketball title is decided on Saturday.
Kenmore East and Lockport made sure of that on Tuesday as the two NFL teams advanced with convincing victories in their respective classes.
Lockport, the No. 8 seed that could, got a big game from Allison Depp in a 56-40 win over No. 2 seed Clarence in the Class A-1 title game. No. 1 seed Kenmore East eliminated No. 2 seed Pioneer, 60-37, in Class A-2, its first title since 1995. The doubleheader was played before 570 at the Erie Community College Burt Flickinger Athletic Center.
The A-1 title is the fourth in a row for the Lady Lions, and their 14th in the 25-year history of the Section VI tournament. The win was sweet for the Lady Bulldogs after they lost in this round last year to Williamsville East.
Lockport (11-13) and Kenmore East (23-0) return to ECC on Saturday for a 6 p.m. tip-off. In the regular season, Kenmore East beat Lockport, 51-46 and 35-25.
Depp almost single-handedly made sure Lockport would extend its season. The 6-foot junior center led the hot-shooting Lady Lions with 38 points, making 19 of 23 from the floor. She had all 12 of her team's points in the second quarter. Depp's points were the second-most scored in a Class A sectional game. Dee Dee Mann of McKinley holds the record with 54 points in a 1991 quarterfinal.
"I guess I was just in the zone tonight," said Depp, who went over 1,000 points in Saturday's semifinal against North Tonawanda. "They were easy shots because I was open, and they were layups so it made it easier. The passes the girls were giving me were good passes."
Lockport shot an amazing 70 percent from the floor while its defense limited Clarence to 22 percent accuracy.
"All I told the girls at halftime was there was a lid on the basket," Clarence coach Mark Layer said. "The last possession of the first half we had three rebounds and three put-backs, and couldn't score. All season long we made those shots." Clarence (17-6) got 14 points from senior April Reger.
Meanwhile, Kenmore East forward Maria Atti connected for a game-high 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. It was not a game for shooting purists as Kenmore East was 20 of 64 (31 percent) and Pioneer was 14 of 50 (28 percent).
Kenmore East hit three consecutive three-pointers to start the game, which helped them jump out to a 13-0 lead. Pioneer scored the last eight points of the first quarter, but 4-of-15 shooting in the second quarter prevented them from making a serious run at the Bulldogs, the state's No. 10-ranked team.
Kenmore East led by 25-18 at the half and 46-32 after three. Rachel Pitkin added 13 points, Katie Turski finished with 12 and Felisa Brown's eight points seemed to come at critical times.
"This is where the girls wanted to be last year when we lost. We wanted to get back here," said Kenmore East coach Jack Blanch. "They're still not where they want to be. Although it's a great win, they still want to get to the next step, and they won't be satisfied until they do."