Chautauqua Lake Snaps Its Skid, Extends Dunkirk’s
DUNKIRK — Most coaches in the area know that the toughest part of the season’s schedule is when you get into league play.
If anything, Monday’s game between Dunkirk and Chautauqua Lake proved it — there are no easy wins in Division 1 West of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association.
Katelyn Fardink drilled three 3-pointers and scored 18 points while leading the Thunderbirds past the Marauders, 59-54, at Dunkirk High School.
“The way it played out was pretty nerve-wracking,” Chautauqua Lake head coach Bill Persons said. “I give them a lot of credit for Dunkirk and what they’ve done here for the girls — you can see their structure is a lot tighter than it used to be.”
Early on in the contest, Dunkirk used its speed to get out in front, scoring a quick six points right out of the gate.
“They have a lot of heart,” said Dunkirk head coach Ken Ricker. “One thing that they had when I got here is that they root for each other and urge each other on.”
After the Thunderbirds got their legs under them and scored a couple baskets, they set up their press, which gave Dunkirk fits for the majority of the first half.
“I thought the girls did a really nice job with the press,” Persons said. “It really was just a tweak from what we normally do with it, but it definitely gave us an advantage tonight.”
Toward the end of the first quarter, Chautauqua Lake’s Fardink sandwiched two 3-pointers between a Laura Alfa 3-pointer, giving the Thunderbirds nine points while pushing the lead to 16-13 after first period.
Back and forth they went again in the second quarter, as Dunkirk’s Nadara Odell and Amari Carter got buckets in close to make the score 24-20 in favor of Chautauqua Lake.
More drama ensued at the end of the half, as Dunkirk’s Olivia Smith hit a 3-pointer with four seconds left to supposedly cut the Marauders’ deficit to one point. However, Fardink answered at the buzzer, drilling a 25-foot shot to put the Thunderbirds up 29-25 at the half.
Fardink nailed three 3-pointers in the first half, and was disrupting the Dunkirk zone all night.
“(Dunkirk) plays that really aggressive 2-3 zone, so we were trying to exploit that and move the ball,” Persons said. “When they would overplay the ball side, Katelyn would drift back to the weak side and that’s where we would see a lot of openings.”
As the third quarter got underway, one of the major problems for Dunkirk all night popped up again — turnovers.
“Our starting backcourt turned the ball over 24 times,” Ricker said. “It’s not that we don’t have the ability, we’re just making poor decisions.”
“We’re really small this year so we were just trying to put a lot of pressure on their guards,” Persons said about Dunkirk’s turnovers. “We didn’t want them to have any easy passes or any easy looks in the paint.”
The Marauders’ turnovers led to easy baskets by Chautauqua Lake captains Lily Woodis and Abigail Henry. The Thunderbirds were able to push the lead to as many as seven points in the third quarter.
“Their two freshman (Woodis and Alexis Jacobson) are more experienced than any of our juniors, because they’ve played more quality basketball and have been coached,” Ricker said. “There’s so many things that I’ve taken for granted — that there’s certain things in place. We’re making strides, but the turnovers really make it hard to win.”
After taking the 44-39 lead into the fourth quarter, the Thunderbirds began to see their lead slip away.
As the quarter went on Dunkirk’s Kymi Nance scored six straight Dunkirk points then found Odell for a layup to cut the lead to 54-52 with two minutes remaining.
“Kymi attacked the basket real well,” Ricker said. “Kymi is going to get a few charge calls, and that’s OK because few people can attack the basket like she can.”
Two Jessica Beehler free throws tied it up, but Fardink was able to grab a single free throw to push the lead to 55-54 with under a minute to play.
That’s when Dunkirk’s other problem came about — free throws.
The Marauders went 2 of 14 down the stretch at the free throw line, missing six straight with a chance to tie it up and take the lead. They finished 11 of 34 from the free throw line.
A Rebecca Henry basket and two more Fardink free throws iced the game down the stretch for the Thunderbirds.
For Dunkirk (8-3, 0-2), it has now lost three straight heading into the toughest part of its league schedule.
“Everyone wants to talk about last year’s sectional final run, but that’s over,” Ricker said. “While it is something to build off of, there are no free wins. If we’re going to continue to make the little mistakes, there are no more wins.”
The Thunderbirds (8-3, 1-1), snapped their small two-game skid, and will continue their league schedule against Olean on Thursday.
“This is the kind of game we need leading into that,” said Persons about facing Olean. “Basketball is a lot about momentum and finding your stride, and this is a good time to find it heading into Olean.”
CHAUTAUQUA LAKE (59)
AHenry 5 3 13, Fardink 6 3 18, Phelps 0 0 0, Jacobson 3 0 7, Woodis 4 3 11, Alfa 1 0 3, RHenry 1 3 5, Perdue 1 0 2. Totals 21 12 59.
Odell 9 1 19, Beehler 3 4 11, Nance 4 3 11, Smith 2 0 6, Carter 2 0 4, Porter 0 2 2, Garcia 0 1 1. Totals 20 11 54.
3-point goals–Fardink 3, Jacobson, Alfa, Smith 2, Beehler.
Chautauqua Lake 16 13 15 14 — 59
Dunkirk 13 12 14 15 — 54