Advancing to the finals

JAMESTOWN – The No. 2 Chautauqua Lake Lady Thunderbirds survived a shaky first half to bounce back in a big way to down the No. 3 Olmstead Lady Owls, 56-30, Wednesday in the Section 6 Class C-2 semifinals at Jamestown High School.

In the first half, the Lady Thunderbirds controlled the game in almost every aspect. Defensively Chautauqua Lake was all over the court. The Lady Thunderbirds outrebounded Olmstead and made it to the free-throw line twice as many times.

However, Chautauqua Lake’s shooting from the charity stripe was also one of its major deficiencies. The Lady Thunderbirds were just 8-for-22 from the line which kept Olmstead in the game.

“The girls know that we have to hit our free throws,” Chautauqua Lake coach Eric Schuster said. “We’ve talked about it all year long. We have to at least shoot 55 to 60 percent from the line to beat some of these better teams down the stretch in the playoffs.”

After jumping out to a 15-2 lead in the first quarter, Chautauqua Lake struggled to regain that offensive momentum in the second period.

The Owls went on an 11-4 run, which was capped off by a 3-pointer from Ericka Thompson with 1:40 left to make the score 19-15.

Fortunately for the Lady Thunderbirds, they were able to find some offensive production with some strong play under the basket in the final minute of the half. With the pair of big buckets, Chautauqua Lake was able to take a 24-15 lead into the locker room at the break.

Jenna Einink led the Lady Thunderbirds in the first half with nine of her game-high 16 points.

The Lady Owls came out in the third quarter and knocked down the first basket of the second half.

From there on out, it was all Chautauqua Lake as the team rattled off 19 straight points to take a commanding lead.

“In the second half we switched to more of a full-court press,” Schuster said. “Early on in the third quarter we had some turnovers that turned into buckets for us.”

See LADY T’BIRDS, Page B4

While Olmstead struggled through most of the game with foul troubles, it caught up to them in the third quarter as its first player fouled out before even seeing the fourth quarter.

“Jenna and Ashton (Albanesius) were tough on the boards for us, especially early on,” Schuster said. “We knew that they were going to be aggressive on defense so we would be able to get them into some foul trouble and we did.”

The Lady Thunderbirds maintained the lead as they teams played to a 13-all tie for a final score of 56-30.

Three Chautauqua Lake players finished in double digits scoring – Ashley Moulton had 10 points and eight boards, Sydney Milliman had 10 points while Einink grabbed 11 boards and five assists to go with her 16 points.

Albanesius also finished with six points and four blocks in the win.

Despite the lopsided victory, there is still room for improvement as the No. 2 seed advances to the Class C-2 finals on Saturday at 4:45 pm at Jamestown High School.

“We didn’t play our best ball,” Schuster said. “We turned the ball over more than we would like. I think we have to just be a little more patient.”

The Lady Thunderbirds will play the winner of Frewsburg and Maple Grove for the Class C-2 title.