>Nichols survives St. Mary's
When does a 20-point win qualify as a scare? Defending Monsignor Martin Association girls basketball champion Nichols needed a big run in the fourth quarter to beat St. Mary's, 88-66, in a quarterfinal playoff game.
The game was tied, 62-62, with six minutes left before Nichols went on a 21-1 run to pull it out.
"They hung in there. They shot the lights out -- on our court yet," said Nichols coach Bob Torgalski. "He had those kids pumped up. They had nine three-pointers. I think they just ran out of gas. It was a fast-paced game."
Size-wise, St. Mary's had no answer for Mo Camp. The Nichols center was 13 of 18 from the floor for 31 points and 10 rebounds. Kaitlin Donahoe had 20 points to became the all-time leading scorer at Nichols with 1,300 points. The previous record of 1,297 had been held by Tiffany Walton since 2002. Sophomore Meaghan Heidwein had 17 points.
Forward Mia Manzella had a career high 15 rebounds to go with 11 points as Nardin advanced with a 51-29 win over Mount St. Mary. Erin O'Brien led the Gators (14-10) with 15 points and five assists.
"Mia started shooting with more confidence against Nichols," said coach Jake Herlihy. "We've been in kind of a shooting slump, and we look forward to get our shooting eye back now."
Melissa Graham scored 19 points as Mount Mercy advanced with a 50-45 win over Holy Angels. "She's starting to find her jump shot, but the real key is she's going to the basket on a more frequent basis," said coach Bob Gainey.
Twelve players scored for undefeated Sacred Heart in a 77-23 win over Cardinal O'Hara. Alycia Pontello had 11 points for the Sharks (22-0).
The playoffs continue on Monday with semifinal games at Canisius College. Nichols (19-6) plays Mardin (14-10) at 6:30 p.m. followed by Mount Mercy (20-5) vs. Sacred Heart at 8 p.m.
The playoff used to determine not only the league champion, but who would represent the league at states. Only half of that is true this year.
This year the teams are only playing for the league championship.
The MMA would typically send one team to states in Class A, Class B and Class C or D. This year they are sending six teams, which have been pre-determined to be: Sacred Heart in Class AA, Nichols and Nardin in Class A and Mount Mercy, Cardinal O'Hara and St. Mary's in Class B.
>North, N-W hockey advance
Jake Rosen scored on an assist from Mark Marachiello with 2:40 left in the second overtime as the No. 1 seed Williamsville North hockey team beat No. 6 Clarence, 5-4, in a Federation semifinal. The goal gave Rosen the hat trick. North (20-3-2) advances to the final against the winner of Niagara-Wheatfield/Lancaster. The two teams traded goals throughout. Clarence forced overtime scoring with 3:36 left in the third period.
Dave Evert scored the game-winning goal with 2:08 left as Niagara-Wheatfield edged Lancaster, 4-3. Evert's goal came after Lancaster has tied it with 3:43 left. The Falcons will play Williamsville North for the title on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
>Officials cite award winners
The Western New York Cross Country Officials have announced the winners of their Scholar-Athlete Awards. The awards are based on academic achievement, extra curricular activities and community involvement, along with running ability.
The 2008 winners are: Ellen Goldhawk (Alden), Taylor Schrimmel (Depew), Lauren Stutzman (Nardin), Jamie Wasielewski (Depew), Alex Farrell (N. Tonawanda), Francis Ridge (Lake Shore), Alex Simon (Hutch-Tech) and Evan Tsembelis (Grand Island).
>College Night is next week
For parents and student-athletes looking for a starting point for their college search, help is on the way. Western New York's annual College Night is March 5 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Lancaster High auditorium. The event is free and open to all student-athletes in grades 9-12.
Representatives from area two- and four-year colleges will be available to provide information to help clarify the recruiting process. This seminar is not meant specifically for the scholarship athlete but intended primarily for those student-athletes who have enjoyed their athletic careers in high school and are interested in continuing athletics at another level. Contact Athletic Director Len Jankiewicz at 686-3271 or email@example.com.