There weren't any special words of wisdom from Williamsville South boys basketball coach Al Monaco at halftime Friday night, just calm reassurance. Turns out, that's all his team needed.
The Billies exploded for a 14-0 run in the first 2:28 of the third quarter against Riverside, opening a 20-point lead, then cruised to the victory, 60-41, in a Section VI Class A-1 quarterfinal.
"It was nothing I said, believe me," Monaco said, searching for an explanation to the spurt. "I just told them to do what we do -- to play our style."
That meant the third-seeded Billies beat No. 6 Riverside at its own game, getting out in transition. Sophomore Phil Stasiak, who had a game-high 26 points, was often the first one down the floor. During the deciding run, Stasiak had eight points on uncontested layups.
"I just went strong to the basket and wasn't worried about getting fouled," he said.
Riverside coach Ron Killinger called three timeouts during the Billies' run, but the Frontiers could find no answers.
"We knew what they wanted to do," Killinger said. "We just didn't defend it."
South's spurt broke open what had been a close game, 27-21 South, at halftime. Riverside held a 12-8 lead in the first quarter after Isaiah Jefferson completed a driving layup with 3:28 to go, but the Frontiers managed just 29 points the rest of the game.
"Defense like that will win all night long," Stasiak said.
Riverside, which ended its season 15-7, could get no closer than 16 in the fourth quarter. Jefferson led the Frontiers with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Ira Watkins added 14 points.
Williamsville South (15-6), winners of five straight, advanced to face No. 2-seed Grand Island in the A-1 semifinals Wednesday at Buffalo State.