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Jamestown's got it all together Fast start puts Raiders on track for Class AA repeat

Not all of Nikki Frederickson's goals for the season dealt with where she wanted her team to be in February.

The Jamestown guard knows that a good start is crucial too. The Red Raiders can check that one off the list after jumping out to a 6-0 record.

"I think it's important to start fast because it gets your confidence up," said Frederickson, who is 124 points from 1,000. "But we prepared a lot too. We went to a bunch of team camps at Notre Dame, Allegheny and Canisius. We play AAU and in summer leagues. And it helps because we've played together for so long."

Jamestown is averaging 80 points through six games. Joining Jamestown with at least four straight wins to start the season are Allegany-Limestone (4-0), Immaculata (5-0), Sacred Heart (5-0), Hamburg (4-0), Lackawanna (4-0) and Lancaster (4-0).

Here's a look at the 2006-2007 season as teams begin league play.

>ECIC

Jamestown: The Red Raiders have every intention of defending their Section VI Class AA title. Last season's champions finished 22-2 and extended their ECIC I winning streak to 17 games. All-Western New York second teamer Frederickson averaged 19.5 points.

Yvette Hunter (17 ppg.) is healthy after being slowed last season by a sprained ankle. The unheralded Ashley Dupler (10 ppg, 8 rpg.) is the backline of the Red Raider defense.

Shooting guard Diana DePane (10.5 ppg) was MVP of the Pioneer tournament. Sophomore Erinne Cunningham hands out 8.5 assists per game. Team captain Joanna Olson, who started 16 games last season, is out until January due to an illness.

East Aurora: If the Blue Devils are fortunate enough to repeat as Section VI Class B champs, they hope their nonleague schedule will prepare them for whatever Rochester brings.

They lost to Indiana signee Jori Davis and Greece Athena, 58-45, in the Far West Regional. They play the Rochester School of the Arts, which has two NCAA Division I signees, and Mercy of Rochester. They've got Nardin and Nazareth of Rochester coming to their Holiday Tournament and they are going to the Greece Athena Tournament.

EA returns four starters from a 22-2 team. Six-foot-1 center Sarah Soroka (19 ppg. 11.6 rpg.) was a third team All-WNY and an All-ECIC pick. Sarah and Jessie Tarantino and Maggie Croft started as sophomores.

Sarah had seven straight double figure games. EA has won ECIC IV for seven straight years.

Lancaster returns all five starters from a team that won a school record 18 games. Three of its five losses last season were to Jamestown.

All-WNY fourth team guard Barb Kiliszek scored a school record 384 points in 23 games last season, breaking Caren Jachimiak's mark of 354 points in 13 games which had stood since 1973-1974.

The Redskins get a boost on both ends of the floor from senior Danielle Martzolf, who played for Lancaster's state championship volleyball team.

Williamsville East has three starters back from last season's team that won Class A-1. All-ECIC pick Kaitlin Roseti is considering the Naval Academy for volleyball and the University of Rochester for basketball. Bridget Steele and Molly Bojanek help make the Flames the favorite to repeat as ECIC II champs. East coach Chris Durr expects a serious challenge from Hamburg and Iroquois.

The expectations are high at Depew, which has four starters back from a team that earned a share of the ECIC III title. The Wildcats return division all-stars Jordan Schrimmel and Jen Godson. Taylor Schrimmel and Alexis Wayne also are back.

The Wildcats beat Class A-1 Kenmore East, 72-69, in double overtime in their season opener. "They are quick, scrappy -- not big -- but they are all over the place," said Kenmore East coach Jack Blanch.

Pioneer, which moved down a division, returns four starters, including one of the area's premier players, All-Western New York first teammer Joelle Connelly. Connelly dominated Depew with 16 blocked shots last week. Erin Asquith and Aleah Zimpfer are two-year starters.

The Panthers' nonleague schedule includes home-and-home games with Greece Arcadia of Rochester. The Panthers' only loss is to Jamestown.

Iroquois will be putting an experienced team on the floor. Holly Beats is a four-year varsity player. Senior Lindsay Henry, an ECIC II all-star last year, is a third-year player along with Grace Cunningham, Ashley Platek and Rachel Sluberski.

Williamsville North has suffered significant losses already. Junior Chantae Miller, an ECIC I all-star, had surgery to repair a torn ankle ligament she said she first suffered last spring during lacrosse. She's expected to make a full recovery, but has three months of rehab ahead.

The Spartans also lost Leslie Ahern for the season after she tore her ACL in the opener against Jamestown.

Lackawanna has an exciting, young player in 5-4 freshman point guard Kayla Golden. She connected for 19 points in the season-opening 34-24 win over Alden. Steeler coach David Olivieri said Golden "does it all." The Steelers, boosted by the talent of last season's 17-1 JV, will be among the teams chasing East Aurora for the ECIC IV crown.

Other top players in the ECIC are junior Katie Medina of Hamburg, senior forward Katie Ostroot of Williamsville South, guard Mandy Sahhar of Orchard Park.

>Niagara Frontier

The league title again will likely go through Lockport, which returns all five starters. Senior forward Bridgette Burke is healthy after knee injuries have robbed her of parts of two seasons. Her sister, sophomore wing Lindsey Burke, has started since eighth grade. Both sisters can go inside-outside.

PG Renee Schwartz started last season as an eighth grader. Adding experience are senior wing Erin Murphy and senior forward Tiara Durant.

The Lady Lions opened at the Greece Arcadia tournament losing to Section V mainstays Fairport and Gates-Chili. The team travels to II-Shenendehowa this year and hosts Olean, Williamsville East and Nardin in its annual Kiwanis Tournament.

Kacie Mills of defending league champion Kenmore East needs 211 points for 1,000. She has averaged 18 points in the first three games. Also in the backcourt is junior PG Jasmine Bell, a transfer from Riverside. "She wants to be coached. She has a lot of energy," said coach Jack Blanch. "Kacie's more of the No. 2 [guard] now, so she can freelance a little bit more."

Kenmore West guard Jenna Rickan was named a league all-star last season as a freshman. . . . The league's top post player is 6-2 forward Courtney Donovan of Grand Island. . . . 1,000-point scorer Destiny Harrison, a starter since eighth grade, provides instant offense for Niagara Falls. She'll be looking to feed Desziray Hall.

>Niagara-Orleans

Class B-1 Newfane started the season with a 30-point win over Class AA Niagara Falls and won the Wilson Tournament. The team lost just one starter from an 18-4 club. Senior guard Margo Weber is in her fifth season in the starting lineup and is a perennial league all-star. Six-foot-1 center Laura Hambruch is in her fourth season. Melissa Wasik is a three-year player.

Wilson returns Mary Gorman, Kari Seabert, Katie Wolcott and Amy Frauen from last sseason's team.

>Monsignor Martin

Defending champion Sacred Heart welcomes some height with 6-foot Liz Subjeck and 5-11 Krystal Watson, who is back from ACL surgery. Meaghan Daley was MVP of the Sweet Home Tournament. The Sharks beat league rival Nardin on Friday to win the Al Pastor Tournament. Senior guard Katie Keller is a returning All-Catholic first teamer.

"The chemistry is starting to work with this crew. We've got a lot of depth. And they love to play defense," said coach Sister Maria Pares.

Sacred Heart's home gym is at Villa Maria.

Nardin is coming off a 20-7 season in which it was Monsignor Martin runner-up and reached the Catholic state Class B title game. All-Catholic forward Kendra Brim and point guard Caroline Hourihan are the returning starters. Brim had a school record 444 points last year.

Mount Mercy can play with anyone as evidenced by its taking Nardin to overtime before losing, 54-49, . . . Nichols doesn't have a senior on the roster. Junior guard Meghan Dougherty is a three-year starter. Two players who started last year as freshmen are guard Caitlin Donohue and 6-1 center Moriah Camp. . . . The South Division returns All-Catholic first teamers Katie Carroll of Mount St. Mary and Jennifer Hare of Niagara Catholic.

>Around the gyms

Look for Southwestern to do some damage in CCIAC I with nine seniors, five of whom start. Jen Thorpe is a three-year starter and Lauren Shagla-McKotch is a third-year player. The Trojans have plenty of talent back from last year's team that won Class B-2 and Class B-1 champs from the year before.

Allegany-Limestone, the defending league champion, returns eight of its top 10 players, including senior starters Jessica Nelson, Tina Peters and Mollie Flynn.

Olean, which dropped from Class A to Class B-1, will build around returning CCIAC I all-star Brandy Wangelin. Director of Athletics Don Scholla has taken over for retired coach Martha Altmire.

Mike McElheny is the new coach at Falconer, succeeding the retired Kathy Landers, who started the program in 1973-1974. McElheny looks for juniors Skylar Carlson and Meaghan Rowland to have big years. Senior Kari Barmore of Cassadaga Valley was the Player of the Year last year in CCIAC II. . . . CCIAC III produced last year's Section VI Class D champion in Sherman. The Wildcats had just six players come out for the team this year. They start four sophomores. . . . Westfield has two solid seniors in Kalli Harrington and Katherine Scharf. . . . Pine Valley may be off to an 0-2 start, but it's never about where PV is in December.

Senior Stephanie Barie of Walsh was the Cattaraugus III Player of the Year last year.

Look for Bennett and City Honors, co-champs last year, to be strong again, along with McKinley and Hutch-Tech.

Bennett's Jackee Thompson had a 30-point game against Grand Island. Grover Cleveland transfer Mercedez Peach will also help the Tigers. . . . City Honors looks for big years from guard Sarah Bellnier and center Olivia Cox. . . . Complementing the skills of McKinley's Shakeena Cunningham (21.7 ppg) will be freshman Shaquita Smith. Smith had 16 points in her varsity debut against Nichols. . . . Hutch-Tech returns PG Brianne Lee, last year's leading scorer. The Engineers are looking forward to the return next month of Gina Moss, who had foot surgery. . . . East coach Peter Hudecki has been impressed with the attitude and effort of first-year player, junior Shanniece Harwell.

Immaculata has its version of the twin towers back with 6-2 Justine Smith [averaged a double-double last year] and 5-11 Kate Benzing [13 ppg.], both four-year varsity players. Anne Wapshare and Mary Kruszka also return to the starting lineup from last year's team that won the state's Independent school championship.

Look for Frankinville to go deep in Class C. The Panthers have 6-3 sophomore Samantha Kopp, daughter of former Western New York scoring champion Laura Hughes-Kopp of Franklinville. Morgan Johnson is a dangerous three-point shooter.

>Early signings

In need of guards who could play at a high level, Robert Morris (Pa.) coach Sal Buscaglia gave his native Buffalo a look. The former UB and Hilbert College coach found Destiny Harrison of Niagara Falls and Shakeena Cunningham of McKinley.

Both players signed full scholarships last month. "We really feel both of them can make an instant impact on our program," said Buscaglia. "Destiny is very athletic. It's very difficult to bring the ball up the court against Shakeena. She will pound you to death."

Robert Morris is coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons. It already has wins over Kent State, Miami of Ohio and Duquesne. "We need players who can play at that level. We really believe they will grow to mid-major upper level players," said Buscaglia.

Brandy Wangelin of Olean, a 6-1 center, has signed with Le Moyne College, an NCAA Division II school in Syracuse. Wangelin led the Huskies to the Section VI Class A title.

>Remembering Coach K.

Sacred Heart and Nardin will participate in the inaugural Tom Keenan Memorial Tournament at Canisius High School on Friday and Saturday. Both teams will play St. Francis Prep of New York, Keenan's high school alma mater.

Keenan was the colorful Canisius coach who died of cancer Dec. 15, 2003, at age 51. "He never complained. You never knew he was very sick," said Pares. "It shook me up. He was just a great man. He loved to coach, he loved being out there."

Sacred Heart will play St. Francis Prep at 4:30 p.m. Friday. Nardin plays Prep at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

e-mail: mmonnin@buffnews.com

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