By John D'Onofrio
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
It’s speed and quickness versus height and more height when the Lockport Lady Lions take on the Jamestown Red Raiders at 6 p.m. today in a Section VI Class AA girls basketball semifinal at Sweet Home High School.
Head coach Bill Shaw’s 16-3 No. 3-seeded Lady Lions enter the game on the heels of a three-game winning streak, capped by wins over state ranked Shenendehowa in the finals of the 2012 Lockport Kiwanis Tournament and Tuesday’s impressive 72-41 AA quarterfinal win over visiting No. 6 Frontier.
Their opponents, Ken Ricker’s 14-3 No. 2-seeded Red Raiders enter the game on a two-game winning streak. They lost to the AA’s top seed, Lancaster, for a second time, 80-67, before closing out its regular season with a win over Frontier (90-65). Jamestown opened its AA playoff slate on Tuesday with a 99-49 quarterfinal win over visiting No. 7 Niagara-Wheatfield.
Tonight’s other AA girls semifinal (8 p.m. start at Sweet Home) pits No. 4 Kenmore West (16-4) against No. 1 Lancaster (18-1).
Shaw said he’ll try to counter Jamestown’s high-octane offense with height as the Red Raiders feature four players averaging double figures in points.
Freshman Anne Campion (No. 2) leads Jamestown in scoring averaging 16.5 points and six rebounds per game. Senior Nicole Green (No. 20) is averaging a double-double at 11.8 points and 11 rebounds per game, junior Karisha Tapia (No. 32) is averaging 11.5 points and four steals per game; and freshman Chrisanna Green (No. 10) averages 10 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Besides that, Jamestown junior Olivia Nugent (No. 4) is averaging eight points per game.
“On any given night, anyone of them can go off and score big,” Shaw said.
“It’s not a typical Jamestown team that has one very good basketball player, it’s a team with a lot of great athletes. That’s why sometimes you’ll see one on the scorer’s sheet with five threes and the next night, it’s another person with five threes. They’re well-rounded and tough to guard.”
Lockport will counter with it’s “Big Three,” senior forwards Marisa Guyton and Emma Sobieraski and sophomore forward Sara Franco, who have averaged double figures scoring and dominated the boards against teams throughout the season.
The Lady Lions will also be counting on limiting turnovers and that means the pressure will be on senior point guard Patti Burdick and senior guard Maggie Glenn to work the ball around to the open player. Both have been solid shooters as well.
Shaw will also look to his bench for support and that will mean senior forward Kendra Warren, junior forward Carly Kane and junior guard Alexis Cheatham doing what they’ve been doing unselfishly all season.
“They don’t have a ton of size — they have two kids who are 5-9, but everyone else is 5-4 to 6-6,” Shaw said. “Their advantage is speed and quickness and ours is size. We’re counting on our size overcoming their speed and quickness. I think this game is no different than any other game. We need to take care of the ball and rebound and we’ll be fine.”
• A look back
Jamestown opened its 2011-12 season with an impressive 70-32 win over Olmsted, before dropping a non-league 82-64 contest to Gates Chili of Rochester. The Lady Red Raiders bounced back to win three straight games, 86-30 over West Seneca West, 67-50 over Clarence and 62-44 over Orchard Park.
The Red Raiders then lost to Irvington, 69-49, before winning three straight over Kingston (66-53), Williamsville North (80-36) and Sweet Home (67-33).
The Lady Red Raiders then lost (Jan. 17) to the AA’s top seed, Lancaster, 79-64. Six straight wins later over West Seneca West (8--35), Clarence (50-38), Orchard Park (88-57), Will North (84-31), Sweet Home (73-49) and Frontier (92-49), set the stage for a re-match with Lancaster on Valentine’s Day.
That was the same date as Lockport’s Niagara Frontier League finale loss at Grand Island, which gave the NFL title to the Lady Vikings.
Lockport opened its season with a tough 53-51 win over Honeoye Falls-Lima in a non-league game, then dropped their NFL opener at Kenmore West, 44-43.
The Lady Lions rebounded with a 64-29 win over visiting Niagara-Wheatfield, then lost a non-league tilt, 57-54 to visiting Sacred Heart Academy, dropping to 2-2 overall.
Lockport then went on a roll, winning their next 11 games, over North Tonawanda (67-16), Kenmore East (85-44), Lewiston-Porter (64-23), Niagara Falls (41-30), Grand Island (44-39), Ken West (54-36), Niagara-Wheatfield (80-58), NT (68-23), Ken East (67-31), Lew-Port (73-39) and Niagara Falls (49-34).
Since losing to Grand Island, Lockport has won three straight games, sweeping Olean (65-39) and Shenendehowa (47-38) at their host Kiwanis Tournament, then beating Frontier, 72-41 in Tuesday’s AA quarterfinal in the Lady Lions’ Den.