MIDDLEPORT — Roy-Hart girls basketball coach Don Baker knew his team would be in for a handful against a tough and well-coached Nichols squad.
For the first half, the Lady Rams held strong and matched the Lady Vikings nearly shot-for-shot, with Nichols maintaining a slim 24-22 advantage at the intermission.
But Roy-Hart ran into some foul trouble late in the first half, and starters Kendra Hill and Emma Lindke were forced to ride the bench for much of the third quarter. The result was a 17-6 third-quarter burst for the Nichols lineup, propelling the Lady Vikings to a 51-41 victory in the championship game of the Roy-Hart Sports Boosters Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday evening.
"The foul trouble kind of killed us," Baker said after the game. "It forced us to change our plans and our tempo, and Nichols was able to run the floor pretty well. They were also bigger than us, and they rebounded better as the game went on."
Roy-Hart took a 9-8 lead after the first quarter on the strength of a long three-point bucket from Hill, long two-point shots from Hill and Brianna Lewandowski, and two free throws by Taylor Fry.
Nichols came out of the gate strong for the second quarter, using an 8-3 run to jump out to a 16-12 lead, despite the boisterous cheering efforts of the rowdy Roy-Hart student section. Nichols senior Val McNamara made her presence felt during the second quarter, and McNamara was named tournament MVP after finishing with 17 points on the evening.
A strong drive-to-the hoop effort by Lindke and a long two-point basket from Fry helped the Lady Rams stay within shouting distance, as Roy-Hart broke for the locker room only two points off the pace.
But once Hill and Lindke had to start watching their fouls more carefully, the tide took a turn for the worse. Nichols opened the third quarter on a 17-4 run that included a handful of dazzling plays by senior Jennifer Roach, who added 14 points for the Lady Vikings. Roy-Hart struggled to make its shots throughout the stretch and also fell victim to a string of turnovers, of which Nichols took advantage with fast-break buckets that put the game nearly out of reach.
Nichols made the score 45-28 early in the fourth quarter, before Roy-Hart finished the game strong on a 13-6 run.
Nichols coach Bob Torgalski was pleased with his team's effort, while crediting coach Baker and the Lady Rams side for a hard-fought contest. He also opined that the game's officiating left a lot to be desired, feeling that the referees allowed the play to get too physical at times (on both sides).
"It was a tough, physical game," Torgalski said. "Roy-Hart stuck in there; we tried to pull away a few times, but they would come back. But with so many kids getting hurt out there, we were just trying to make it."
Despite the loss, Baker was happy with his team's effort over the weekend, and excited to start the Niagara-Orleans League season this week. The Lady Rams travel to Wilson tomorrow evening for the N-O opener.
"This tournament was good preparation for the league," Baker said. "We made mistakes, but we hung in there. I'm pleased with the way we played, and we're ready for the league to start."
Fry led Roy-Hart with 12 points, and was named to the all-tournament team along with Becky Harnish, who added nine points on the evening. Lindke and Hill finished with seven points apiece, while Lewandowski added six.
Roy-Hart 61, Bennett 55
MIDDLEPORT — After a heartbreaking defeat against Cleveland Hill in its season opener, the Roy-Hart girls basketball team looked to start strong and finish the same way in Friday night's Roy-Hart Sports Boosters Tournament semifinal matchup against Bennett.
Coach Don Baker's squad did just that, as Roy-Hart used a big second quarter for the second consecutive game to take a 34-26 halftime lead. The Lady Rams loosened a bit in the second half but didn't let up, holding on for a 61-55 victory over Bennett on Friday night at the Roy-Hart HS gym.
Roy-Hart advanced to face Nichols in the tournament championship on Saturday. Nichols beat Tonawanda, 50-34, to earn a spot in the final.
"Just like the other night against Cleve Hill, we had some good pressure and turnovers early, and we had a good start," Baker said. "We came out a bit ragged in the second half, but we held on, and it was a good win."
Junior Kendra Hill led the Lady Rams with 20 points, while senior Becky Harnish had 17 and sophomore Emma Lindke added 10. Roy-Hart jumped out to a 14-13 lead at the end of the opening quarter, before a 20-13 run through the second eight-minute stanza extended the margin to eight points at the half.
Junior Taylor Fry had eight points for the Lady Rams, while senior Brianna Lewandowski added six. Hill also nailed two three-point shots for Roy-Hart.
Bennett did rally slightly to make the score 46-40 after three quarters, but Roy-Hart held tough in the final quarter to secure the victory.
In preparation for Saturday's championship test, Baker said he expected the Nichols squad to present quite the challenge, but that his team accomplished its goal of advancing to the final and was excited for the opportunity.
"They're big and strong, they shoot well, and they have good guard play," Baker said. "We're going to have our hands full. Our goal was to make the championship, and we got that, so we'll try to make the most of it. We'll give them the best shot we can."
Lyndonville 28, Medina 21
LYNDONVILLE — Senior Taylor Miller paced the Lady Mustangs with nine points, but Medina couldn't get past Lyndonville in a non-league girls basketball contest on Saturday afternoon.
Still searching for its first victory of the young season, Medina jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the first quarter on the strength of two baskets by junior Nicole Blount, along with one each by Miller and freshman Molley Gross. The Lady Mustangs maintained the advantage throughout the first half, taking a 13-8 lead into the intermission.
But Lyndonville took over from there, outscoring Medina in the second half by a 20-8 margin. Alyssa Mahnke led the Lady Tigers with six points on the afternoon, while Gabby Dusett added five.
A basket by Medina freshman Emily Kams cut the Lyndonville margin to 24-21 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Lady Tigers held tough late to preserve the victory and improve to 1-1 on the young season.
Abigail Feldman, Chelsea Poler and soccer goalkeeper Jenna Castricone all added four points apiece for Lyndonville.
Blount finished with six points for the Lady Mustangs, while Gross added 10 rebounds. Medina falls to 0-3.