Weekly Feature



2018-03-07 / Sports

South girls basketball dominates Hamburg, wins fifth straight A-1 sectional championship

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter


Williamsville South’s girls basketball team defeated Hamburg, 72-40, Sunday at Buffalo State Sports Arena to win its fifth straight Section VI Class A-1 title. Team members include, from left, first row, Riley Domin, Mia Special, Haley Domin, Grace Stahl, Anna Lorenzo and Emma Petrie; second row, Naomi DeBerry, Maddie Wiles, Gretchen Dolan, Sarah Foster, Hannah Dolan, Iina Kaisaniemi, Lauren Lassiter, Amari DeBerry and Tatyjana Scalisi. 
Photos by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Williamsville South’s girls basketball team defeated Hamburg, 72-40, Sunday at Buffalo State Sports Arena to win its fifth straight Section VI Class A-1 title. Team members include, from left, first row, Riley Domin, Mia Special, Haley Domin, Grace Stahl, Anna Lorenzo and Emma Petrie; second row, Naomi DeBerry, Maddie Wiles, Gretchen Dolan, Sarah Foster, Hannah Dolan, Iina Kaisaniemi, Lauren Lassiter, Amari DeBerry and Tatyjana Scalisi. Photos by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Williamsville South’s girls basketball team entered into some elite company with its dominating 72-40 victory over Hamburg in Sunday’s Section VI Class A-1 final at Buffalo State Sports Arena.

The victory secured the Lady Billies’ fifth straight A-1 title. The only other team in section history to have won five consecutive section titles is Grand Island, which accomplished the feat in A-1 from 2009 to 2013. Those teams were coached by Jen Banker, who now coaches the Daemen College women’s basketball team.


Williamsville East’s Madeline Reid attempts to drive to the hoop past the defense of Williamsville South’s Naomi DeBerry (No. 14) and Amari DeBerry (No. 42) in the Section VI Class A-1 semifinals Feb. 28 at Clarence. East lost 77-41. Williamsville East’s Madeline Reid attempts to drive to the hoop past the defense of Williamsville South’s Naomi DeBerry (No. 14) and Amari DeBerry (No. 42) in the Section VI Class A-1 semifinals Feb. 28 at Clarence. East lost 77-41. “That is an honor because I have so much respect for coach Banker,” South coach Kristen Dolan said. “I remember bringing my little girls to the gym when she was playing here on a yearly basis.”

South beat Hamburg, 58-50, in last year’s A-1 final but the outcome was never in doubt this year, opening on an 18-4 run and leading 26-10 after the first quarter.

“We knew we had to be really focused and find our rhythm early,” Dolan said.

South built its lead to 47-20 at halftime and 67-30 after three. All of South’s reserves saw playing time in the fourth quarter.


Williamsville South’s Hannah Dolan drives past Williamsville East’s Courtney Maclay during the Lady Billies’ 77-41 Section VI Class A-1 semifinal win Feb. 28 at Clarence High School. 
Photos by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Williamsville South’s Hannah Dolan drives past Williamsville East’s Courtney Maclay during the Lady Billies’ 77-41 Section VI Class A-1 semifinal win Feb. 28 at Clarence High School. Photos by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com South is a very tough team to guard. If teams guard them inside, senior guard Lauren Lassister — who won a state title as a freshman and secured her fourth A-1 title — will knock down a three, which she did six times for 18 points against Hamburg, including three treys in the first quarter.

If teams defend the perimeter, 6-foot-5 freshman center Amari DeBerry is there to dominate the paint, although she also drained a three in the first quarter against Hamburg.

“It’s hard to stop just one of us,” DeBerry said. “You have to stop all of us.”

DeBerry, who has been heavily recruited by a number of schools, scored the game’s first seven points and totaled 18 points, nine rebounds, six steals and five blocks.


Williamsville South’s Amari DeBerry grabs a rebound over Hamburg’s Lauren Tone during the Lady Billies’ 72-40 win in Sunday’s Section VI Class A-1 final at Buffalo State Sports Arena. Williamsville South’s Amari DeBerry grabs a rebound over Hamburg’s Lauren Tone during the Lady Billies’ 72-40 win in Sunday’s Section VI Class A-1 final at Buffalo State Sports Arena. Lassister also handed out four assists, and added three steals and two rebounds to go with her 18 points.

“We are definitely coming together as a team,” Lassister said. “We are getting better every single game.”

Sophomore Hannah Dolan led all scorers with 22 points, two assists, two rebounds and two steals.

Seniors Iina Kaisaniemi (two points) and Naomi De- Berry (one point, three rebounds, two assists, steal); juniors Haley Domin (two points) and Tatyjana Scalisi (two points, six rebounds, five assists); sophomore Emma Petrie (three points), sophomore Sarah Foster (two points) and seventh grader Gretchen Dolan (three points, three steals, two assists, one rebound) also contributed to the win.

South’s win over Hamburg sets up a Class A section final rematch with Amherst at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Buffalo State Sports Arena. South lost to Amherst 63-47 in last year’s Class A final.

South advanced to the A-1 final after beating Williamsville East, 77-41, in the A-1 semifinals Feb. 28 at Clarence.

South jumped out to a fast start, taking a 27-10 first quarter lead. They continued with their pressure defense in the second and went into halftime with a 41-17 advantage.

“Along with good solid defense, we took care of the ball and played smart, which is what we need to do at this point in the season,” coach Dolan said.

“I think we had some playoff jitters going into it,” East coach Ryan DiVita said. “South’s pressure defense led to some early turnovers in the first couple minutes, and we really put our heads down at that point and it was tough to rally and come back. We also went for long periods of time where we did not score.”

The Lady Billies continued to move the ball in the second half as they outscored the Lady Flames, 36-24.

Amari DeBerry and Scalisi both recorded double-doubles.

Amari DeBerry finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds and Scalisi tallied 17 points and 17 rebounds.

Hannah Dolan added 10 points and 12 assists.

Others who contributed on offense were: Naomi DeBerry (eight points, two rebounds, three steals); Kaisaniemi (eight points, six rebounds); senior Grace Stahl (four points, two rebounds); Petrie (four points, two rebounds); Foster (two points, two rebounds, three assists); and Domin (two points, three assists).

Junior Rachel Romanowski led East with 21 points. Senior Maddi Lawida (six points), sophomore Chelsea McNamara (four points), and sophomore Gretchen Beyer and eighth-grader Marissa Barrali (two points each) also contributed to the win.

East finished 13-9 and only graduates two seniors, Lawida and Maddi Kozlowski.

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