Southwestern coach Kay Beaver knew she was staring defeat in the face if she didn't do something quickly.
A few well-chosen words during a fourth-quarter timeout got her team back on track and the Trojans went on to defeat Allegany-Limestone, 35-30, on Tuesday to win the Section VI Class B-2 title.
East Aurora eliminated Fredonia, 47-41, in the Class B-1 final played before 341 at Erie Community College.
"During a timeout they came out and I had just one girl slap my hand, and I said, 'Why did I have one girl slap my hand?" said Beaver. "I said because I see fear in your eyes. You're not excited. You're not pumped up. You feel like you already lost the game. And if you feel that way, then you're going to lose the game. You have to feel like you're going to win, and go out and win."
The Trojans took those words to heart as they withstood an Allegany-Limestone rally that saw their eight-point lead (23-15) in the middle of the third quarter become a one-point deficit (26-25) early in the fourth.
A three-point play by Jenn Thorpe put the Trojans ahead for good (33-30) with 2:17 left. Southwestern's defense kept the Gators scoreless over the final 2:49. Thorpe finished with five of her team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter and Lauren Shagla-McKotch provided a spark by scoring all five of her points in the fourth.
The loss was a tough one for Allegany-Limestone, which had beaten Southwestern twice during CCIAC I play. Leading scorer Brittany Martin scored eight of her 10 points in the first quarter and struggled the rest of the game to find her stroke. She was not alone as the team shot just 13 of 48 from the floor and had 17 turnovers. The Gators finish 20-3.
Southwestern (15-7) will play East Aurora (21-1) for the overall Class B title on Saturday at 2 p.m. at ECC.
East Aurora overcame foul trouble and 9 of 21 shooting from the free throw line to run its winning streak to 16 games.
Leading scorer Sarah Soroka (nine points) picked up two fouls in the first quarter and her third early in the third. She hit a big three-pointer to give her team the lead for good at 37-36 with 3:49 left in fourth and then fouled out.
Filling the gap all game long was Jessie Tarantino (12 points, seven assists) and her twin sister Sarah (eight points, four steals).
"I said to every one of the girls, you have to step up and do something to make a difference whether it's a box-out or a rebound or a loose ball," said EA coach Chris Koselny. "The girls really did a great job."
Fredonia's (12-9) Alanna Klose led all scorers with 21 points.