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Bentley Powers Portville Past Salamanca In B2 Semifinal

Portville’s Avery DeFazio makes contact with Salamanca’s Karina Crouse during Wednesday’s Section VI Class B2 semifinal girls basketball game at Jamestown High School’s McElrath Gymnasium. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

Lillian Bentley wears No. 34 on her Portville jersey, but there’s little doubt what option she is in Portville coach Inga Welty’s offense.

How does No. 1 sound?

Bentley scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and teammate Jackie Scanlon drilled a momentum-changing fourth-quarter 3-pointer to send No. 7 Portville to a 47-35 victory over No. 3 Salamanca in a Section VI Class B2 semifinal girls basketball game at McElrath Gymnasium at Jamestown High School on Wednesday evening.

The win advances the Panthers (18-4) into the championship game at 11 a.m. Sunday at Buffalo State Sports Arena against No. 1 Wilson (19-3), a 46-44 winner over No. 4 Allegany-Limestone in the other semifinal.

“I’m excited that we escaped with the win,” Welty said, “but we didn’t put forth our best effort as far as basketball is concerned. Sometimes that happens and they found a way to win, which is more important than how you got there.”

Wilson will certainly have Bentley on the top of their scouting report.

Against the Warriors (17-5), the center/forward was dominant in the low post, coming up with critical baskets and rebounds at just the right time, including a putback before the buzzer to end the third quarter, which gave Portville a 35-30 lead.

“(Bentley) was a beast, as usual,” Welty said. “We did struggle getting her the ball when she was open, and we forced things at times … (but) she carried us like she has been doing, which is awesome.”

Added Salamanca coach Joe Himan: “That was our focus this week was to find a way to prevent her from getting the ball. We held her to eight in the first half, (but) she’s going to find a way to score at the end of the day.”

The Warriors closed to within 35-32 following a layup from Leilene McComber after dribbling the length of the floor. Avery Defazio scored for Portville and Leilene McComber connected on one of two free throws to pull Salamanca to within 37-33 with 5:23 remaining in the game.

That was as close as the Warriors would get as the Panthers finished on a 10-0 run, highlighted by Bentley’s five free throws and Scanlon’s trey from the wing.

The 3-pointer was particularly meaningful for Welty, who had been upset with an ill-advised shot Scanlon had taken earlier in the game.

“When she was wide open (later), she came over and she was like, ‘I was really glad I hit that,’ and I was like, ‘I was really glad you took a good shot.’ That was a great shot to take.”

Scanlon’s trey pushed Portville’s lead to 42-33 with three minutes remaining.

“Jackie is a great shooter,” Hinman said. “It’s hard when you have a team that can score inside and shoot well outside.”

Skyla Dowdy led Salamanca with 9 points, while Lezly McComber and Leilene McComber both had 8.

“You never want to see your season end,” Hinman said. ” … At the end of the day we have to look at the seniors and thank them for the time they had and the effort they put in. I know moving forward we’ll be back in a similar spot.”

PORTVILLE (47)

Bentley 6 11 23, Scanlon 2 1 6, Haines 3 1 7, Rhinehart 1 2 5, Carls 1 0 2, DeFazio 1 0 2, Edwards 1 0 2, Totals 15 15 47.

SALAMANCA (35)

KCrouse 1 0 2, LeMcComber 4 0 8, La McComber 3 2 8, Wolfe 0 0 0, MaCrouse 2 1 5, Dowdy 3 3 9, John 1 0 3, Totals 14 6 35.

3-point goals — Scanlon, Rhinehart, John.

Portville 10 6 19 12 — 47

Salamanca 6 7 17 5 — 35

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