Trojans Prevail With Big 2nd Half

Southwestern’s Reece Beaver attempts to get a shot over Fredonia’s Ashlynn Delcamp during Friday’s Section VI Class B1 quarterfinal girls basketball game in West Ellicott. Photo courtesy of Shelly Phillips

WEST ELLICOTT — The Fredonia Hillbillies put up quite a fight early in Friday night’s Section VI Class B1 quarterfinal girls basketball game at Southwestern High School, but once the Trojans got on track, the top-ranked team in the section could not be stopped.

Southwestern outscored No. 8 Fredonia 37-19 in the second half to earn a berth in the semifinals with a 63-39 win.

“I think my girls actually believed that they had some fight left in them,” said Fredonia head coach Brianne Flowers. “My girls came out hard. … We were winning after the first quarter, and nobody here expected that.”

Fredonia jumped ahead to a 7-0 lead three minutes in, as Piper Walnicki made a pair of layups and Makayla Tabone hit a 3-pointer with 5:05 left in the opening period. The Hillbillies led for the final 6:45 of the opening frame and carried a 10-9 advantage into the second quarter.

“They came out with nothing to lose,” Southwestern head coach Kay Sirianni said. “They played super-hard defense and just got us out of our offensive rhythm early on.”

Southwestern responded on the strength of its star, senior guard Reece Beaver. After just two points in the first quarter, Beaver scored 10 points in the second quarter, including a go-ahead 3-pointer for the Trojans’ first lead of the game with 5:15 left in the first half.

“She really leads the team with momentum,” Kay Sirianni said of Beaver. “When she hits a couple buckets, we know that we’re in good shape.”

The second quarter came to an end with a six-point Southwestern lead, as all-state volleyball star Lauren Cotter followed up a missed jumper with a layup at the buzzer for a 26-20 lead for the top-ranked Trojans. For Cotter, the moment proved that practice pays off.

“In our practices, we run the clock and Lauren always wants to hit the buzzer-beater,” Kay Sirianni said. “For her to do that, it was extra special because she actually hit it in a game. She practices it all the time.”

The Trojans doubled their lead early in the second half, as Bella Sirianni and Madi McIntyre each hit a 3-pointer in the first 90 seconds of the period to lead by 12 points. The Trojans maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way and coasted to a dominant playoff win. It was Southwestern’s third victory over Fredonia by at least 20 points this season.

“In the second half, we started to play our game,” Kay Sirianni said. “… I was glad that they played really tough defense on us, because that’s what we need.”

Beaver finished with 21 points in the contest, more than double what any other player had in the game. She also had seven steals, six assists and three rebounds.

Cotter and McIntyre each recorded double-doubles for the Trojans. They each had 10 points, while Cotter had 12 rebounds and McIntyre had 11 rebounds. Bella Sirianni added 8 points, seven assists, four steals and four rebounds.

“In the second half, when my post players stepped up, that’s what took the pressure off of Reece,” Kay Sirianni said.

Fredonia was led by Ashlynn Delcamp and Makayla Tabone, who each had 10 points. Piper Walnicki added 8 points for Fredonia, while the Hillbillies’ leading scorer on the season, Ella Koopman, was held to just a fourth quarter 3-pointer in the contest.

“Unfortunately, we had to draw them in the first round. I would have loved to face them at a neutral site to have a little bit more of an advantage,” Flowers said. “… I’m so proud of how we played. Unfortunately, Southwestern wanted it that little bit more.”

Fredonia graduates 10 seniors this summer from its roster, with Walnicki as the only player averaging more than one point per game this season able to return next year.

“I loved this group as a whole. Each and every single one of them brought something different every single day. I’m going to miss them so much,” Flowers said.

Flowers hopes Fredonia’s 10 freshmen set to step up next season can eventually grow into what this season’s group became by the end of their senior season.

“It will take a little while for them to fill their shoes, but having them for three years, we’ll be making a run in the next 2-3 years,” Flowers said. “I wish I had this group of seniors for one more year, because we almost had it, and now we have to rebuild all over again.”

Southwestern now advances to the sectional semifinals Tuesday night at Kenmore West High School. The Trojans will face No. 4 Akron, which beat No. 5 Health Science 55-35 on Friday. Kay Sirianni hopes that the way her team played in the second half on Friday will carry over to the next stage of the postseason.

“The thing that we need to take down the road is that no matter what, you don’t stop playing. A team might get a lead, it might feel like we’re losing, but we have some experienced players … and until that buzzer sounds in the fourth quarter, the game is not over,” she said. “You’ve just got to keep playing hard, and these girls know how to do it. They’ve just got to finish strong.”


Diaz 1 1 3, Normand 0 0 0, Tabone 3 3 10, Delcamp 5 0 10, Creeley 0 0 0, Koopman 1 0 3, Walnicki 3 2 8, Gullo 0 0 0, Wegrzynowski 2 1 5. Totals 15 7 39.


CBeaver 1 0 2, RBeaver 7 5 21, Cotter 5 0 10, BBeaver 3 0 6, Sirianni 3 0 8, Barone 0 0 0, McIntyre 4 1 10, Pearson 2 0 6. Totals 25 6 63.

3-point goals–Tabone, Koopman, RBeaver 2, Sirianni 2, McIntyre, Pearson 2.

Fredonia 10 10 7 12 — 39

Southwestern 9 17 22 15 –63


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