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East Aurora cleans house with MVP Soroka

East Aurora had a house party on Saturday and Kendra Brim of Nardin was not invited.

The Blue Devils held the All-Western New York forward to three field goals to win the inaugural East Aurora Holiday Girls Basketball Tournament, 34-25.

"We had to keep her out of the house, keep her from getting those easy buckets," said senior forward Sarah Soroka, who drew the assignment of guarding Brim. "That's what he [coach Chris Koselny] calls it. The lane. We knew she was a really good player coming in. We wanted her to shoot the outside shots."

Brim was coming off a 35-point, 14-rebound performance against Section V mainstay Nazareth in the tournament's first round. The Lasers ended East Aurora's season last year in the Far West Regionals.

Soroka tried to front Brim, which enabled her to deflect several entry passes from the wing. Soroka also got weak side help from Ashley Gallagher and Alicia Sweet.

The loss didn't sit well with Nardin coach Jake Herlihy, who was looking to build on the six-point win over Nazareth. Instead, his team squandered a seven-point halftime lead and was held without a field goal in the fourth quarter.

"We need some other people to step up," said Herlihy. "To expect her [Brim] to have a game like she had last night, every night is ludicrous. I tell them on the bench they have to be willing to go in the game, and when they're open, shoot the ball, and some of them don't to do that. They have to be able to step up and make some shots."

East Aurora scored just nine points in the first half it was plagued by rushed shots, missed free throws and turnovers.

But from the start of the third quarter it was evident the Blue Devils had found their rhythm. After trailing the entire game, Jesse Tarantino gave EA its first lead, 22-20, with a pair of free throws with 2:12 left in the third quarter. She scored all eight of her points from the line. The Blue Devils never trailed again.

Soroka opened the fourth quarter with a layup, using a spin move to slip a defender and finish off a fast break. She ended with 10 points. Ashley Gallagher and Sarah Tarantino followed with back-to-back baskets to open it up.

A pair of free throws from Brim with 5:11 remaining ended up being the last points the Gators scored.

In the consolation, Nazareth beat Medina, 58-32. Katelin Kingsley had 13 points and Kayla Evans 12 for the Mustangs (4-4).

e-mail: mmonnin@buffnews.com

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