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H.S. Girls Basketball: Wolf helps Hamburg finish Frontier; Lake Shore wins opening tourney

Hamburg’s Taylor Wolf goes up in an attempt to block the shot of Frontier’s Jocelyn Kempf during the Bulldogs’ win. (Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)

Hamburg has only one returning starter from last year’s sectional final team, so it was no surprise that Taylor Wolf was the one lifting the Bulldogs to a fourth quarter rally which yielded them a 45-37 win over rival Frontier on Tuesday (Dec. 11).

In a back-and-forth game between the non-division combatants, Wolf, Hamburg’s lone senior starter as well, scored seven of her 11 points in the final three minutes of the game. She also notched two key blocks and a rebound off a missed free throw with a minute to play to keep possession in Hamburg’s hands. Hamburg improved to 2-0, while Frontier is 0-1.

“Taylor and I have talked about her being a senior and captain and that the kids are going to look up to her as a leader,” Hamburg head coach Kelly Owens said. “She’s more than capable of taking that on; it’s not an outlandish request for her. We talked about limiting our turnovers and picking up our game, and when Taylor took that leadership role in the fourth, it became contagious to the other girls.”

One of those others was Wolf’s partner in the post, junior Kendra Quinn-Moultrie, who enjoyed a breakout performance, scoring a game-high 20 points, including five in the final quarter thanks in part to her strength and physical play.

Quinn-Moultrie’s bucket with 3:30 left in the game put Hamburg back on top, 33-32. From there, the Bulldogs ran off 14 of 19 points to end the game. She also did an admirable job defending Frontier senior standout Natalie Galus, who finished with a team-high 15 points.

“I told Kendra she could post up with the way they were guarding her and draw fouls and she did that,” Owens noted. “I thought she also did a nice job on Galus, making it difficult for her.”

Galus was also dealing with foul trouble, which kept her on the bench for most of the second quarter. Frontier trailed only 18-17 at halftime despite their fourth-year starter sitting.

“We kept it tight with Natalie on the bench, but Hamburg executed in the fourth quarter and killed us on the boards,” Frontier head coach Rick Mahalik said. “We’re not going to win many games if we can’t get to the free throw line. They were at the line much more. Kelly’s got a nice group.”

Frontier did enjoy a well-played third quarter as junior guard Caisey Lipka notched five of her 10 points in that time and added a pretty assist. The Falcons led 28-25 going into the final quarter.

“At times our guards were playing very well and other times they played too fast,” Mihalik said. “We need to do a better job taking care of and possessing the ball. We’d take a shot after only one or two passes and then have to defend for 25 seconds.”

Also for Hamburg, the junior backcourt of Jill Ford and Ally Salerno combined for 11 points. Ford had six of her seven points in the fourth quarter. In a season opening 35-26 win over Clarence last week, Salerno led Hamburg with 11 points.

“We’re young — starting four juniors, but we’re getting better everyday and making so many strides,” Owens noted.

Eagles knock off Forestville to take Hae Jude

The Lake Shore girls basketball team used a big third quarter to knock off Forestville, 39-26, on Dec. 7 and capture first place in the Hae Jude girl’s high school basketball tournament at Silver Creek.

The Eagles took the lead for good with a 14-1 run in the third quarter. Michaela Stepniak hit two jump shots on the first two possessions to spark the Eagles.

Stepniak, a senior, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player as she finished Friday’s contest with eight points, eight rebounds and three assists.

“Stepniak has been our best player on the floor in the past three games.  She is playing both ends of the floor with confidence,” Lake Shore head coach Andrea Conrad said.  “It is all coming together for her.  She deserves it because she has been dedicated to this program for the past four years.”

Fellow senior Josilyn Benton was named to the all-tournament team and finished with five points, three assists and a steal for the winners.

Melanie Linsmair also enjoyed a solid game for the Eagles, playing both the guard and forward positions.  The sophomore ended the night with eight points, six  rebounds and six steals. 

“This was by far one of her best games of the season,” Conrad noted.  “She played in control, poised and smart.”

Forestville came out strong in the first quarter, taking a 10-2 lead. after early-game problems at the foul line and being unable to take advantage of ample opportunities to score, the Eagles used a 14-7 second-quarter run to go into halftime down by just one, 17-16.

Forestville struggled against the Eagles’ man to man defense. Benton put tremendous pressure on the basketball, forcing several turnovers.

Alie Jimerson gave the Eagle’s quality minutes, contributing two big buckets, while Lindsey Gearhart notched all seven of her points in the fourth quarter for the Eagles.  Miranda Aikin added six steals, while Darian Evans contributed nine rebounds and Shayla Scanlan, six rebounds.

In the first round of the Hae Jude Tournament the day before, Lake Shore defeated Gowanda 46-36.

After what Conrad said was a sloppy, undisciplined game on Dec. 4, which resulted in a loss against Dunkirk, the Eagles turned it around and came out flying right from the start against Gowanda. The Eagles outscored the Panthers 18-6 in the first quarter.

Stepniak recorded seven of her 16 points in the opening quarter. She had her second double-double of the season, ripping down 11 boards.  Aikin and Benton each added eight points, while Mackenzie Ciciera aided the effort at the guard position. Lake Shore maintained good control of the basketball, resulting in only five turnovers in the first half of play. 

Linsmair contributed eight points, nine rebounds, four assists and six steals in playing a well-rounded game.  Evans, Jimerson and Scanlan each had two points to round out the scoring for the Eagles.
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