Jenna Panepinto is making the most of her senior year. The guard isn't just putting up big numbers, she's enjoying every moment on the court.
On Thursday, she had 22 points and 10 steals to pace Kenmore West to the championship of the 26th annual Matt Colpoys Girls Basketball Tournament. The Blue Devils defeated Iroquois, 50-39, in the title game to hand the Chiefs their first loss of the season.
"Iroquois came in undefeated and they played like an undefeated team," Kenmore West coach Mike Licata said. "It was just a well-played game on both ends. We just held a slight edge in every quarter."
That slight edge was helped by Panepinto, who went 4 for 5 from the free-throw line, 2 for 3 from three-point range and added five assists and six rebounds for good measure.
"I think Jenna is playing with such passion because she knows it's her senior year," Licata said. "She's a kid who appreciates what limited time she has left on the basketball court and because of that is stepping up."
Solid team defense in the second half helped Newfane grab its first win of the season, a 44-40 triumph over Williamsville North in a nonleague matchup.
"After the first three games, we weren't playing help defense as a team at all," Newfane coach Brandon French said. "We focused last week on team defense, getting after the ball and forcing turnovers. We did that in the second half."
Jess Hambruch led the Panthers (1-3) with 11 points.
In the championship game of the Maryvale Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament, Cleveland Hill played solid defense in the fourth quarter to defend its tournament title with a 44-34 win over Akron.
Daryl Spencer was the tournament's MVP with 11 points and 12 rebounds. He scored 22 points in Cleve Hill's opening-round win over Hamburg on Wednesday.
DeVonte Davis added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the winners.
In the consolation game, Nick Benningfield scored 11 of his 18 points in the second half, including hitting a late three-pointer to help Hamburg cap a comeback and defeat Maryvale, 55-53.
Maryvale jumped out to a 16-6 first-quarter lead and maintained a 32-21 advantage at the break. Hamburg made adjustments to its press break and scored some easy baskets to get back in the game.
Eric Moscato had nine points and eight rebounds while Griffin Ryan collected 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (4-3).
It's not a theme Rich Crozier would like to see repeated frequently, but if it means wins against quality teams, he'll take it.
For the second straight game, St. Joe's fell behind, 2-0, and came back for 3-2 win, this time against defending Connecticut state champ Fairfield Prep in the consolation final of the Mt. St. Charles Holiday Faceoff in Rhode Island.
Fairfield took a 2-0 lead in the first period, but a more disciplined forecheck in the second period allowed St. Joe's to tie the game on goals from Eric Paradowski and Will Mangione. Dimetri Gogos scored the game-winner with about 11 minutes left in the third.
It was the third game St. Joe's has played against defending state champions. Last week, the Marauders tied New York State Large Schools champ Williamsville North. In this tournament, they dropped a 5-1 decision to the defending Rhode Island state champ and then upended Connecticut's best.
"We feel that if you want to be the best you have to play the best and beat the best," Crozier said. "We'll take on anyone and I was very pleased with our performance today."