TROY – Zaria McCullough scored nine of Williamsville South’s final 11 points as the Billies advanced to their first New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association Class A girls’ basketball championship game Friday afternoon with a 73-69 win over Section VIII champion North Shore.
McCullough’s trey broke a 62-62 tie with 2 minutes, 7 seconds remaining. A layup by Brianna Neeley followed and then McCullough went 6 for 6 from the line as Will South earned a date with either Section III’s Jamesville-DeWitt or Section I’s Albertus Magnus in Saturday night’s 7 p.m. final at Hudson Valley Community College.
“I’m just thrilled for the girls and so proud of them,” Billies coach Kristen Dolan said. “It’s exciting.”
South, which is making its first state final four appearance, trailed most of the first half but took a 32-31 lead into the intermission as a trey by Lauren Lassiter and two free throws from Emily Smith capped a 5-0 run.
Lassiter was among the many heroines for the Billies in this one. She canned three three-pointers during the third quarter to help South increase its cushion to nine points. While that’s as big of a lead as the Billies had, her contributions provided a jolt of confidence that helped South (24-1) push back whenever the Vikings (19-3) threatened to take control.
Lassiter finished with 12 points, one of four players to reach double figures for Williamsville South. Erin Egan led the winners with 19 points, Smith had 13 and McCullough 10. Grace Licata added nine points.
Division I-commit Alexandra Cantwell took game scoring honors with 26 for North Shore. She will continue her career at Lafayette of the Patriot League.