The Southwestern girls basketball team did something that no team had done since December: The Trojans beat Olmsted, and did it in convincing fashion.
In a 58-45 win against Olmsted in the Section VI Class B-2 title game Sunday at the Buffalo State Sports Arena, the Trojans held the Owls to two successful shots from the floor in the first quarter and created turnovers early in the game in order to generate their own offense.
As a result, the Trojans ran to an 18-point halftime lead, allowed the Owls to get no closer than nine points in the fourth quarter and ended Olmsted’s 15-game winning streak.
“We definitely knew we had to contain their dribble-drives, and we wanted to get it out of (Gabrielle McDuffie’s) hands, because we knew if we got it out of her hands, that we were able to tip the ball away,” said Erin Radack, who scored 14 points to become Southwestern’s all-time leading scorer with 1,117 points.
“We really, really focused on running the floor and making them tired early in the game.”
Southwestern will face East Aurora for the Section VI Class B championship Wednesday at Buffalo State. Sarah Tully’s free throws with 9.8 seconds left in regulation lifted the Blue Devils to a 46-44 win against Olean in the Class B-1 title game.
“I knew the game was resting on my shoulders, so I just breathed, and did what I normally did,” Tully said, making the motion of shooting a free throw as she spoke. “Fingers, back of the rim.”
In the B-2 final, Southwestern (19-5) limited Olmsted (19-2) to three shot attempts in the first three minutes; Olmsted didn’t hit its first field goal until McDuffie (22 points) hit a layup with 3:20 left in the first quarter. Olmsted went 2 for 7 from the floor in the first quarter, and trailed 24-7 entering the second.
“They put pressure on us in the beginning, and we haven’t seen that,” Olmsted coach Mark Orlando said. “They did what we do to other people, and they used it. We knew they were going to come out like that and we prepared for it, but we didn’t do what we needed to do.”
Olmsted started to find its scoring touch but couldn’t make up ground, even as Southwestern struggled to sink its own shots. The Trojans opened their lead to 32-15 with less than 2 1/2 minutes left in the half, and took a 34-16 lead at the half, despite shooting 5 for 16 in the second quarter.
Despite both teams shooting poorly in the third quarter, Reece Beaver hit a layup just before the buzzer to give the Trojans a 46-34 lead, and Olmsted twice cut Southwestern’s lead to nine points inside the five-minute mark. But the Trojans reopened their lead to 17, and Olmsted lost Eliza Conyers (10 points) to her fifth foul with 2:23 left.
In the B-1 final, Olean (20-3) and East Aurora (20-3) traded leads four times in the second quarter until Justine Brooks's free throw gave the Huskies a 19-18 lead, the start of a 7-2 run that gave Olean a 25-20 lead at halftime.
Olean guard Sara Pfeiffer was called for her fourth foul less than 40 seconds into the third quarter, but the Huskies maintained at least a five-point lead until East Aurora guard Katherine Jancevski (10 points) hit two free throws with 6 seconds left in the third to cut Olean’s lead to 35-32 going into the fourth.
Pfeiffer re-entered 2:03 into the fourth, with her team ahead by a point after Brooks’ 3-pointer at 38-37, but took her fifth foul with 4:26 left on a charge. Pfeiffer finished with four points.
Marina Miketish’s jump shot broke a 42-42 tie with a minute left, but the Blue Devils went 4 for 6 on free throws in the final minute, and Olean’s last-ditch attempt at a shot bounced off the backboard as time expired.
“We lost, we didn’t get beat, and we played the whole game without our leading scorer,” Olean coach Chelsea Bowker said. “Our next-leading scorer has 20 points less than what Sara gives us, and we ran a championship game. They worked their tails off, we had a wide-open layup at the end of the game and it just didn’t fall. It’s not our year.”
Between games, Wilson girls basketball coach Brian Baker was awarded with the Frank Martin Coach of the Year Award. Martin’s wife, Brenda, and his daughters, Heather McIntosh, Kristen Fluent, Brittany Monroe and Caitlin Martin, presented the award to Baker.
Martin died in March of 2018, less than a week after he coached the Gators in the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association final four.
Martin’s family also established the Frank A. Martin Memorial Scholarship, a $500 award annually given to an Allegany-Limestone female student who plans to attend a two-year or four-year college, who played sports and who demonstrates strong community service.