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Frontier girls hoops steps ahead of competition

DRIVING FORCE — Senior Kaitlyn Lipka drives past the defense in a game earlier this season. Lipka helped Frontier pull of a signature win for the program last week at Jamestown. Photo by Michael Petro.
Taking a trip down to Jamestown for a basketball game can strike fear in an opponent, especially one that’s not used to competing for a divisional title the Red Raiders girls have controlled for many years.

Frontier exhibited it fearlessness, and talent, earning a 53 – 38 victory at Jamestown in a battle of Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division I undefeated teams on Jan. 14. The Falcons now sit in first place at 6 – 0 (10 – 1 overall), with a first division title in about 20 years now within reach.

“We were playing well and winning games, but we knew both teams were unbeaten and this was our opportunity to take a step toward something we haven’t done in 20 years,” Frontier head coach Rick Mihalik said. “Jamestown has always been in our way.”

Frontier outscored defending ECIC I champ Jamestown 30 – 10 in the second half, putting together its defensive effort, during the final two quarters. Anne Campion, a career 1,000-point scorer, was held to 3 points, as the Falcons hurried Jamestown in half-court sets and created turnovers.

“In my experience, we don’t need motivation against Jamestown; it’s just a matter of having the talent to make it a game,” Mihalik said. “We can play with them; we made that obvious.”

Mihalik said sophomore forward Lexi Rockey was clutch in finishing with 10 points, on 5 of 10 shooting. Seniors Kaitlyn and Caisey Lipka, combined for 24 points. Kaitlyn scored 13 and Caisey, 11, while adding 10 rebounds and three assists. Senior Kelsi Ebert had 11 points, 9 boards and 3 steals. The defense did a much better jump on the boards, after Chrisanna Green and company dominated first-half rebounding.

The Falcons went 10 games and more than a month and a half into the season, before finally losing a game. Frontier lost in the championship game to the host school of the Mercy Tournament in Rochester 58 – 50 on Jan. 19. After a slow start, the Falcons led by as many as 4 in the fourth quarter, but Mercy pulled ahead on the strength of knocking down 26 of 34 free throws.

Frontier also beat West Seneca West 62 – 45 and then earned a victory in the Mercy Tournament opener 42 – 30 over Wellsville. Those four games, beginning at Jamestown, were played during a span of five days. In the win against West, Ebert scored 22 points, Lexi Rockey added 13 and Caisey Lipka, 12. Ebert had 12 points and eight rebounds against Wellsville.
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