Total team effort
By GIB SNYDER III
OBSERVER Sports Reporter
After the first quarter, it seemed as though the Section 6 Class B-1 girls basketball quarterfinal between No. 4 Dunkirk (15-5) and No. 5 Newfane (13-7) was going to be a track meet. However, after the first eight minutes, it was clear only one team would be able to keep up the breakneck pace, as the Lady Marauders cruised to a 74-52 win.
The Lady Panthers jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead in the first quarter, before the Lady Marauders stormed back to take a 8-6 lead. The teams traded baskets from there, with Newfane ending up on top, 22-18, after the game’s first eight minutes, thanks in large part to nine points from Katie Shaw.
“She’s the heart and soul of this team,” Newfane head coach Kevin Klumpp said of Shaw, who finished with a team-high 17 points. “She’s one of the best kids you could ever have. As a person and as a player she gives you everything. She listens and she’s coachable.”
The Lady Panthers’ full-court press, which gave the Lady Marauders fits in the first quarter, did not have the same effect in the second, as Dunkirk began to chip away at Newfane’s lead, eventually taking control of the game.
“They did a great job adjusting,” Dunkirk head coach Sarah Bogardus said of her team. “Especially in the second, third and fourth quarters, where I think we handled their press really well.”
“That’s what we’ve been doing,” Klumpp added of the pressure defense his girls employed Saturday. “If we get tired, oh well. That’s what we’re doing.”
Khee Nance led the way for the Lady Marauders, scoring 11 of her game-high 24 points in the frame.
“She took over in the second quarter,” Bogardus said. “That was obviously huge for us, gaining that momentum heading into halftime.”
“We’ve been coming back most of the year,” Klumpp said. “We’ve been down a lot and we’ve come back. But when you (play against) a girl like Nance, you can’t do that. It makes it a little bit more difficult to do that.”
With Nance finding her groove from the field and with Lacey Clark and Jessica Gifford each adding six points in the second quarter, Dunkirk went on a 21-4 run, taking a 41-28 lead into the break.
“It was nice to go into the locker room with a bit of a comfortable lead,” Bogardus said. “But we knew that we had to come out in the third quarter and try to put the game away.”
Clark finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, but it was Gifford’s performance that really caught the eye of Bogardus.
“As a team, I think we realize that every single person is capable of stepping up and really impacting the game,” Bogardus said. “And that’s something we really want to stick with moving forward.”
Gifford finished the game with 15 points as she went 5-of-7 from behind the arc, adding a trio of rebounds.
“I think it was evident (Saturday) that it was a true team effort,” Bogardus said. “Lacey played an all-around good game even though she was playing in foul trouble. Khee stepped up like she always does and hit some huge shots, but we also had Joyce Bomasuto, Jessica Gifford, Rachel Rosas and Dimary Maisonet that really contributed. And we really need everybody to contribute moving forward.”
Dunkirk was able to keep up the pace it set in the first half, outscoring Newfane, 18-11, in the third quarter and 15-13 in the fourth.
“We really stress to them (to play for) 32 minutes,” Bogardus said. “Whether you’re up 20 or down 20, you come out and you play a full game no matter what the scoreboard says. And we had our lapses at times, but that’s something we’re definitely going to work on in practice, especially defensively these next three days before we get another take at Olean.”
Up next for Dunkirk will be a third meeting with the top-seeded Lady Huskies (15-3), a 64-12 winner over No. 8 Eden (9-9) on Saturday.
The Lady Marauders dropped both contests to the Lady Huskies this season – 55-49 at home and 60-42 in Olean. The third meeting is scheduled for Thursday at Sweet Home High School, and Bogardus thinks the neutral site will benefit her girls.
“It’s always a tough game for us to play in Cattaraugus County,” Bogardus noted. “And obviously we’re very tough on our home court, so I think it will be an advantage for us to get Olean at a neutral site. But again, we really have to play good defense in order to beat Olean. They’re a disciplined team. They’re a well-coached team. They have key role players and it’s really going to take a team effort for 32 minutes in order to play a good game against them.”
One thing is for sure: If Dunkirk is to pull off the upset later this week, they will need the same kind of team effort it received Saturday.
“Khee and Lacey will be the girls that we can count on to step up,” Bogardus said. “But all these other girls proved that if they step up and play the way they’re capable of – which is what they did (Saturday) – then we’re going to be a really tough team going into Thursday.”
NOTES: … Bomasuto finished with nine points and four assists … Nance added six rebounds and four assists to go with her game-high 24 points … Maisonet had five points, nine assists and six rebounds in the win … Newfane got a nine-point performance from Jessica Hambruch and seven from Jordan Beutel.