Nance, Clark lead Lady Marauders to playoff victory

Following No. 4 Dunkirk’s 65-44 Section 6 Class B-1 pre-quarterfinal girls high school basketball victory over No. 13 Depew, Lady Marauder coach Sarah Bogardus learned her senior standouts Lacey Clark and Khee Nance combined for 33 of her team’s final 36 points.

Bogardus was hardly shocked.

“Khee and Lacey are obviously huge contributors to our success,” she said. “When they play at their best, it really picks up our team. Whenever the game is up in the air, you can always rely on Khee and Lacey to step their game up and get things back in control for us.”

When it was all said and done, Nance led the way with a game-high 29 points while Clark scored 24.

Clark scored eight of her team’s 13 points in the opening quarter and they were all needed as Dunkirk held a slim 13-12 lead.

“Lacey literally does play like she is 6-foot and she is just a beast,” Bogardus said of her 5-foot-7 forward. She just has the desire and passion to play. She has that natural instinct that you can’t teach. She is definitely one of those girls that day in and day out, night in and night out, is going to give it 100 percent all the time. Lacey carried us through the first quarter.”

An unfortunate injury to Dunkirk’s Selena Ruiz seemingly helped the Lady Marauders as they began playing much stronger in the second quarter.

“I think it inspired the girls,” Bogardus said of the injury. “Selena is, without question, our hardest worker. She would have given anything to finish that game and be out there playing. I really think it inspired our girls to pick it up and play a lot harder.”

One player it may have inspired was Nance. After scoring four points in the first quarter, Nance scored 12 in the second quarter – including two quick easy buckets to spark an 8-2 run and build a 19-14 advantage.

The closest Depew got the rest of the way was 23-19. Nance’s 12 points in the second quarter helped Dunkirk hold a 32-23 advantage at halftime.

From there, it was the Nance and Clark show as the duo outscored the visitors alone, 16-13, in the third quarter.

In the final eight minutes, Clark and Nance combined for 13 points to hold off the visitors for the win.

“We had a much better second half, but it’s still not where we want to be right now,” Bogardus said. “There are many things the next two days we need to work on in practice to get ready for our game Saturday.”

After not winning a playoff game in at least half a decade, the Lady Marauders are 3-1 in the last two years under Bogardus’ guidance.

“It says everything about the girls,” Bogardus said. “When I came in to coach, the commitment and dedication was there from day one. They were eager to learn and were in the gym every day. They really made a commitment to turn Dunkirk basketball around. We are 14-5, we are getting a second home game and they have had so many firsts for Dunkirk basketball. They really do have so much to be proud of. We just don’t want to settle and be content. We want to keep pushing. We want to keep striving and move on through the playoffs. We are really looking forward to the playoffs.”

Dunkirk will host the winner of Newfane on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Notes:?Nance also had 10 rebounds and two assists while Clark had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.