The Clarence girls basketball team used a 16-7 fourth quarter to pull out a 42-38 victory at fellow top-10 large school East Aurora Saturday.
The No. 10-ranked Red Devils (5-4) got out to a 12-9 advantage after one quarter, but the No. 8 Blue Devils (7-2) used 13-8 and 9-6 middle frames to take a 31-26 lead heading into the fourth.
“Rebounding was key,” Clarence coach Erin Booker. “Ella Eckert, she was controlling them in the fourth. Six of her 11 points came in the fourth quarter off of offensive putbacks.”
While Clarence features a formidable interior duo with the 6-foot Eckert and 6-foot-2 Carly Reynolds, it was its guard play that made the difference down the stretch.
Arianna Carey made a big three-pointer to put the Red Devils up, 39-38, with about 1:30 left. Classmate Theresa Bienko (10 points) went to the free-throw line twice in the last 40 seconds and converted three of four attempts.
Grace Barker hit a three and scored all nine of her points in the first half.
“It’s really building confidence,” Booker said. “We played really well as a team, received balanced scoring throughout the lineup. It wasn’t just our inside game, which everyone knows we have, but our outside game was great as well.It’s nice to take the pressure off of Eckert and Reynolds and see the guards contribute as well.”
The Red Devils have two big home games this week, starting with a nonleague matchup against No. 5 Amherst Tuesday. They then host ECIC I rival Frontier on Friday in a rematch of last year’s Section VI Class AA championship, which Clarence won, 34-31.
Junior Sarah Tully scored a game-high 13 points for East Aurora. Emma Brinker added nine, and Karie Oar made a pair of threes for her eight.
In CCAA East I, Portville snapped a four-game losing streak with a 55-21 home win against Silver Creek. Karly Welty scored 18 points and Sydney Colligan 14 for the Panthers (5-4, 1-1).
Pope scores game-high 38
Section VI’s leading scorer improved on his eye-popping numbers Saturday afternoon when Devin Pope scored 38 points in Chautauqua Lake’s 78-62 nonleague boys basketball win at Springville.
The senior also added nine rebounds, seven steals and three assists, as the Thunderbirds won their fourth game in a row to improve to 8-3 overall. Junior Kyler Majka scored 20 points, and sophomore Nate Adams added 13.
Including Saturday’s performance, Pope’s scoring average currently sits at 34.3 points per game. He hasn’t been held to less than 22 points and has reached 40 twice in 11 games. He also averages 11.1 rebounds. The returning All-Western New York second-team selection averaged 28.3 points and 7.8 rebounds last year, leading his team to a Section VI Class C title.
Chautauqua Lake hosts Southwestern Wednesday and Dunkirk Friday in two important CCAA West I matchups. The Thunderbirds lost at the Marauders back on Dec. 19, 82-66.
Olean is the only unbeaten team in the league at 4-0. The Huskies are followed by Dunkirk (4-1), Chautauqua Lake (3-1) and Southwestern (3-2).
Elsewhere, Silver Creek sophomore Dominic Jamison scored a career-high 31 points in a 73-30 win at Eden. The 5-foot-9 guard hit six of his seven three-pointers in the third quarter.
Junior Braeden Woleben scored 18 points for the Black Knights (10-1) and senior Jarmani Benton had 16.
Simonson receives MOW
Amherst’s Brandon Simonson was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the 25th annual Lockport Invitational after winning the 160-pound weight class via 6-1 decision in the championship match.
Grand Island won the team title with 163 points, followed by Lockport with 95.5 and Clarence with 76.
Five Vikings took home first place: Adam Daghestani in 152, Dan Emblidge in 170, Connor Kenney in 182, Blake Bielic in 195 and Jaquan Johnson in 285.
Lockport, Clarence and Fredonia also had multiple wins.
Josh Gill (113) and Shyref Payne (138) won for the Lions, Anthony Corigliano (126) and Quinten Burke (145) for the Red Devils, and Brandon Wallace (120), Hector Colom (132) and Jake Skinner (220) for the Hillbillies.
Also winning their weight classes were Depew/Cleveland Hill’s Carson Alberti (99) and Niagara Wheatfield’s Logan Haseley (106).