Weekly Feature



2009-12-23 / Sports

Sweet Home finds a way to beat South

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter

Sweet Home did not play its best basketball last Friday at Williamsville South, but it was enough to improve to 2-0 in ECIC Division II.

The Lady Panthers led after every quarter but needed two free throws with 49 seconds remaining in regulation from Bianca Smiley to down the Lady Billies, 54-53.

Smiley finished with a career high 32 points and 12 rebounds.

“Bianca Smiley was a huge reason for our success,” said Sweet Home coach Matt LaRoach. “She stepped up big for us. I really thought she could have had more points, but I was happy with what she scored. None were more important than her last two from the free-throw line that sealed the win.”

Heather Caputi hit one of two free throws to put South up by one with under a minute remaining.

“We hung around all game and were able to be there at the end,” said South coach Erik Solomon. “We pressed them the whole time, and that was our intent to keep us in the game. The girls stepped up. They gave everything they had. The effort was incredible.”

Sweet Home led, 13-8, after the first quarter; 23-20, at halftime; and 38-32, after the third quarter.

“From the start, I never really thought that this game was in anyone’s hands,” said LaRoach. “We talked about trying to put teams away, and we could not do this against South. They played really well. Sometimes teams don’t always play their best basketball and still find ways to win, and we were able to do this.”

Raylin Brooks added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Sweet Home. LaRoach also lauded the play of guards Rachel Ward and Anna Sampayo.

South, who only dressed nine players, was led by Haley Struebing with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the floor.

South’s top scorer, Sarah Marcus, was in foul trouble most of the game and scored eight of her 10 in the fourth.

The Lady Billies got contributions from Charley Falletta (nine points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals), Blair Pembleton (eight points, two rebounds, assist), Kristin Lynett (seven points, three rebounds, steal) and Caputi (five points, three rebounds, two assists).

Sweet Home dropped its first game of the week, 49-44, a non-league contest last Wednesday at Clarence.

The Lady Panthers opened the game with a 13-6 lead and went up, 13-8, after the first quarter. Clarence took a 24-21 advantage into halftime and a 36-32 advantage after three quarters.

“We started good but then we got too complacent,” said LaRoach. “We played in spurts. I thought we needed to take care of the basketball much better; rebounding at times hurt us, and we made some really poor decisions down the stretch, as the game was close with a minute or so to go. We took a couple of bad shots with under a minute to play when it was a three-point game or essentially one possession.”

Brooks led all scorers with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

“She was knocking down 15-foot jumpers, posting up and taking the ball to basket strong,” said LaRoach. “She was a force inside.”

Smiley added 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Clarence was led by Kelsey Hodge with 16 points.

Sweet Home (2-2) hosted Iroquois Tuesday, but the result was unavailable before The Bee went to press.

South committed 32 turnovers — many in the first and fourth quarters — in a 46-42 home loss to Tonawanda last Wednesday.

The Lady Billies played well in the middle quarters, outscoring the Lady Warriors, 15-4 in the second quarter, to lead 21-18 at halftime, and 15-9 in the third quarter, to lead 36-27.

Tonawanda was better in the first and fourth quarters, outscoring South, 14-6, in the first quarter and 19-6 in the fourth quarter.

“Instead of conserving the clock, the girls started not being patient,” said Solomon. “We also had a lot of turnovers in the first and fourth. Their zone defense was active, which threw us off a little bit.”

Marcus led South with 23 points, including 13 in the second half. She also had five rebounds, six steals and one block.

Laura Zaprowski added six points and three steals. Lynett added five points, two steals and one assist.

South hosted Williamsville East Tuesday, but the result was unavailable before The Bee went to press. They host O’Hara at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

e-mail: pnagy@beenews.com

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