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Frewsburg takes girls Class C title at the buzzer

JAMESTOWN - Frewsburg's Gabby Iuculano probably will never have a better moment in her high school basketball career than the one that came on Tuesday night.

After all, how many times do you sink a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left to give your school a Section VI title?

That's what she did, as the Bears won a 53-50 thriller over Chautauqua Lake for the girls Class C crown before a jammed facility at Jamestown Community College.

The Thunderbirds had just tied the game on a free throw by Taylor Phelps with 7.7 seconds to go when Iuculano went to work.

"At first, we thought they would press, so we planned to get the ball to our fastest player to bring it up," the sophomore guard said. "But they sat back. There was no pressure.

"I brought it up and saw there was only a second left, so I just shot it."

The attempt came from well behind the high school line ... and the college line.

"I had no idea where I was," said Iuculano, who finished the night with 18 points.

It was an appropriate ending to a game that featured a ton of drama. The teams took turns making good-sized runs during the game, and ended up even until that last basket.

Chautauqua Lake came out with an obvious edge in height up front, while Frewsburg had a couple of guards who could shoot from the outside. Inside vs. outside is always a classic matchup.

"We had a lot of games on our nonleague schedule against teams with taller players," Frewsburgh coach Jeff Collyer said. "We played this team, we played Allegany-Limestone. I tell them, don't worry if you get a shot blocked, just go get the ball back."

Chautauqua Lake had a 12-2 burst in the first half to take the lead and looked to be in good shape. Katelyn Fardink had two three-pointers in that stretch. Frewsburg stopped the bleeding at that point, and played CL to a draw for the rest of the half. Still, the Thunderbirds took a 27-23 lead into the locker room. It didn't last.

"We trained really hard this season, and we're conditioned to play well in the second half," Collyer said. "There were mistakes but the kids came out and executed."

That was particularly true during a 13-0 run that surrounded the break between the third and fourth quarter. But the Thunderbirds kept plugging away, and took a one-point lead on a three-pointer by Taylor Phelps with 23.5 seconds left. But after two free throws by Iuculano and one by Phelps, it was time for Iuculano to win the game.

Olivia Lynn led the Bears with 19 points, while Iuculano had 18 and Blanchard had 12. Fardnick had 14 points for Chautauqua Lake.

Now Frewsburg is on to the Far West Regionals on Saturday at Buffalo State.

"Last year we lost in the sectional finals," Iuculano said. "We wanted to show this year we were better than that."

Mission accomplished.

 

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