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South, JFK open hoops playoffs with wins

The basketball playoff season kicked into gear Tuesday night with the prequarterfinal rounds for girls in the Section VI championships. Teams advanced out of the first round into the quarterfinals which will be held on Saturday at the higher seed.

Charley Falletta hit a free throw with 11 seconds left in the game to seal a 44-39 win for Williamsville South over McKinley in Class A-1.

McKinley was the better team in the first half, taking a 26-23 lead, but the Billies kept their composure, played better defense and were more aggressive on offense to earn the win.

"We were able to clamp down defensively in the second half," Williamsville South coach Erik Solomon said. "We put full-court pressure on them and caused some unforced errors. Then we got much more aggressive ourselves in the fourth quarter. We hit one three-pointer and the rest of our seven points were all on free throws. We were trying to get the ball inside and wear them down physically."

Grace Licata scored 14 points for the Billies (6-13), who advanced to play No. 4 Iroquois. Falletta finished with 11 points. Daesha Thomas scored 23 points for McKinley (10-8).

Meanwhile, it was the right time for everything to come together for JFK. The Bears saved their best performance for the playoffs with a 24-6 second-quarter outburst in a 53-45 Class B-2 win over Falconer.

"That's the best we've played all year," JFK coach Stephen Sokolski said. "We were down 8-0 and made it 13-6 [at the end of the first quarter]. I don't know what we did, but that was the best we played all year. Balls were dropping. It's as simple as that. We didn't do anything different and then we managed it the rest of the game."

Sarah Kapanek scored 12 points for JFK (5-12) while Stacy Kochanowski added 10 points with 12 rebounds. The Bears play top-seeded Southwestern next.

In other prequarterfinal games:

In Class B-1, 10th-seeded Depew knocked off No. 7 Alden, 55-26. Kirstie Dlugosz and Nikki Mann each scored 12 points for the Wildcats (6-13), who will next face No. 2 Springville.

Josilyn Benton scored 11 points as Lake Shore used a balanced offense to defeat West Seneca East, 53-24, in Class A-1. Lake Shore (13-6) will play third-seeded Hutch-Tech.

Also in A-1, Sabrina Lipowski had 11 points and 11 rebounds while Dani Silvestri had 13 points and six assists to pace Williamsville East to a 52-38 win over Starpoint. The Flames (11-8) play top-seeded Grand Island.

Cleveland Hill used a 16-7 fourth quarter for a 34-30 win over Akron in B-2. Toria Williams scored 21 points with 15 rebounds and six blocks for Cleveland Hill (7-12) which next will face No. 2 Wilson. Jessie Hay added nine points.

> Boys Hockey

Mark Bezbatchenko put home a rebound from a shot by Cole Weppner at 5:17 of the second overtime to give Williamsville East a 4-3 win over West Seneca West in the Western New York Federation Division II semifinals.

West Seneca West had a 3-1 lead heading into the third, but the Flames came back. Ben Sharf tied the game with 3:24 left.

The Flames will face Kenmore East in Sunday's 5 p.m. championship at First Niagara Center. The Bulldogs advanced with a 3-0 win over Sweet Home. Mike Davern made 15 saves to earn the shutout for the Bulldogs.