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High School Girls Basketball Round-up: Eden comes away from Alden with victory

MacKenzie Biastre is one of two sophomores who have become big contributors for Eden this season. (Photo by Ron Larson)
Eden has shown two sides this season. Head coach Marisa Fallacaro is hoping to get the one that showed up at Alden for the remainder of the season.

The Raiders avenged an earlier season loss to the same opponent by going on the road and beating Alden 48-38 on its Senior Night in front of a packed house on Feb. 7.

Despite giving up a size difference underneath the basket, Eden rebounded the ball well, in addition to forcing some key turnovers down the stretch with the game still close. The Raiders also went to the line often and knocked down many of those shots.

“I believe that we have a very strong team that can play with any of our opponents, but unfortunately the team doesn’t always show that,” Fallacaro said. “The Alden game was a great game for us. This was the first time in a long time I saw us not settle for the first shot, move the ball and drive to the hoop.”

Senior Hanna Zittel led Eden with 15 points, while sophomore MacKenzie Biastre nailed 7 of 10 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and hit 10 of 14 for the game. She finished with 12 points, in addition to having three steals and several deflections.

Sabrina Kraska, a fellow sophomore, finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two assists, and senior leader Emily Carias added five points. Carly Nasca and Erin Dix hit the boards to help the rebounding effort.

The win was Eden’s second straight after also beating JFK 29-19 two days prior. The Raiders are 9-8 overall and 7-4 in ECIC IV with their regular season finale Thursday, Feb. 14 at Holland, one of the top teams in the division.

Eden should get a home playoff game in the opening round of Class B-1 on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Fallacaro believes the game may be a 5 p.m. start because the boys should play at home as well that day and follow at 7 p.m.

Elsewhere, Frontier saw a significant difference in its results by adding forwards Natalie Galus and Nicole Rockey to the fold. Falling in four of their last five games since losing Galus, the Falcons earned a 50-33 win over Clarence in ECIC I action on Feb. 11.

Galus, the school’s all-time leading scorer who’s closing in on 1,000 career points, returned from missing three weeks with a broken hand to score a game-high 20 points and added seven blocks and five rebounds.

Rockey, who’s missed the entire season after being injured in a car accident, was a welcomed addition as the junior scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds in her first action of the year since being cleared to play.

“She’s been doing everything and anything to get back and ready to go,” Frontier head coach Rick Mihalik said. “We’re really excited for her return.”

Junior guard Caisey Lipka finished with 10 points, four assists and four rebounds as Frontier improved to 8-9 overall and 6-6 in ECIC Division I play. Frontier also avenged a division loss on Jan. 24 to Clarence.

In the stretch without Galus, Frontier had trouble mustering enough offense and Mihalik said his team was struggling to put four quarters together. From Feb. 1 to 7, the Falcons fell 44-35 to Williamsville North, 64-44 to Jamestown and 44-20 to Lancaster.

Frontier was within nine points of all three at halftime but had difficulty scoring in the second halves. The Falcons trailed Lancaster only 19-14 on Feb. 7. The first time the teams met they played an overtime thriller.

Caisey Lipka, the team’s junior point guard, who Mihalik said, “does it all for Frontier,” has continued to run the offense and guard the other team’s top player throughout the season. Coming into the Clarence game, freshman Lexi Rockey had averaged 10 points and 6.6 rebounds over the past three contests. Rockey led the team with 15 points and six rebounds against North.

Kaitlyn Lipka, Caisey’s twin sister, has quietly dropped eight to 10 points a game, as well, finishing with 13 against Jamestown. Jocelyn Kempf, the only other senior on the team, leads Frontier in rebounds with 105, blocked shots (40) and charges (nine).

After celebrating Senior Night on Feb. 13 against Holy Angels, Frontier anticipates opening up the Class AA playoffs hosting a pre-quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 21.

After falling to East Aurora for a second time this season, Lake Shore bounced back with two wins, including beating Pioneer to move back into second place in ECIC III.

In the 44-39 win over Pioneer on Feb. 5, sophomore forwards Lindsay Gearhart and Darian Evans again played a big role for the Eagles. Gearhart netted 15 points and ripped 10 boards, while Evans had another solid night under the boards with 10 rebounds and added seven points.

Senior Josilyn Benton contributed nine points in the victory, four coming in the last quarter when she hit an important three to give the Eagles the lead in the last two minutes of play.

Sophomore teammate Melanie Linsmair finished with nine points, including knocking down two free throws in the last 30 seconds of the game to seal the victory.

Senior point guard Miranda Aikin added five rebounds and six assists. Michaela Stepniak and Shayla Scanlan contributed important minutes.

The Eagles improved to 13-4 overall and 10-3 in division play by beating Depew, 54-37, on Feb. 7. They ended the regular season on Feb. 12 against Maryvale. Lake Shore should earn a bye into the quarterfinals and a home playoff game on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Also locally, Immaculata improved to 14-4 with a 57-49 win over Tapestry on Feb. 7. Senior standout Taylor Heinold poured in 31 points, shooting 14 of 17 at the free throw line, with 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, while younger sister, freshman Jordan Heinold, added 13 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.

Taylor Heinold, who scored 38 points in the game prior in a win over Eden, has also surpassed the school’s all-time scoring leader Carissa Ferrucci, who finished at Immaculata in 2004-05 with 1,073 points.

The Bears will be tested over the next several days with home match-ups against tough Niagara Frontier League large schools Niagara-Wheatfield on Friday, Feb. 15 and then Niagara Falls on Feb. 18.


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