Photo by Matt Tyree
The run is over.
The Depew Lady Wildcats’ impressive run – going 23-2 before Saturday’s showdown against Section V’s Waterloo – ended in the Class B Far West Regionals as they fell to the Tigers 73-62 at Buffalo State University.
“They started hitting a lot of shots and we were missing some chipshots and some long ones,” Depew coach McKenzie Bezon said. “That’s how basketball is, the ball does not always bounce where you want to go.
“It’s been one heck of a season, they’ve worked super hard. And I’m just super proud to be their coach.”
Against a team in Waterloo – one that had won 81 of their previous 86 games over the last four years – the Lady Wildcats knew that a victory by them would be a massive upset, and it nearly was. Depew got off to a 26-22 lead at the half, and the thought of potentially moving on to the state semifinal began dancing in their head.
Yet it wasn’t meant to be. Being outscored 22-11 in the third quarter and allowing Waterloo to convert on 11 of their last 12 free throws sealed the deal for the Tigers.
One of the standouts in the contest was junior Mia Vannelli. Vannelli, who also is a standout catcher for the state semifinalist softball team, had over 30 points in the game and will be counted on among other underclassmen to fill the shoes of graduating seniors Natalie Witt and Kaylee Krysztof.
“We told Mia that they’re probably going to focus in on Kaylee, so we really need you to step it up and take it to the rim and she really had a great game,” Bezon said. “I told the girls that Kaylee and Natalie really paved the way, they’ve showed you what it takes – especially with Kaylee being our all-time leading scorer – and hopefully that desire will build all through the summer and that fire burns for next year.”
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