WNY Athletics

Ladyjacks, CSAT Exit As Winners

Holding a 10 point lead midway through the fourth quarter North Tonawanda coach Cathy Hummel said the magic words to her team during a time out: “Don’t be satisfied.”
They weren’t.

Lindsay Piotrowski dropped a career high 21 points and earned MVP honors as the Ladyjacks bested Grand Island, 33-27, in the championship game of the Tonawanda Lady Warriors Holiday Tournament that was played at the George H. Miller Gym, Thursday night.

The game capped off a full day of basketball that saw CSAT Eagles beat the host Lady Warriors 45-42 in overtime.

Falling to Tonawanda in the title game of last year’s tournament, this marks the first time the Ladyjacks have won the Lady Warriors Holiday Tournament. And the team’s first, truly watershed win, under Hummel, who is in her first season coaching NT girls varsity basketball.

“I hope this leaves a deep impression on all of them, because again, we did not have our typical lineup,” Hummel said. “We went eight-nine deep into our total lineup and there were some kids who typically do not play a whole lot who had a big impact-not just today, but (Wednesday). I think we were able to build off of (Wednesday’s) small successes and were able to make them bigger.”

Piotrowski, who is clearly playing the best ball of her three-year varsity career, put together solid back-to-back efforts as she had 19 points, nine steals and five assists in the Jacks 44-41 win over CSAT on Wednesday.

But as strong Piotrowski played these two games were an example of what NT (4-3) can do when every girl plays her role.

Erin Sammarco hit the first of her three, 3-pointers to open up the scoring. Then dropped the other two back-to-back to help NT extend its lead to 27-9 in the third.
“Erin came in and hit a lot of shots,” Piotrowski said. “Everyone contributed and did their part to get the win.”

Sophomore Laney Wieclaw, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, was tough on the boards and did a lot of the dirty work that enabled the Ladyjacks to fend off the Lady Vikings late surge.

“It’s a huge confidence booster because we didn’t come in thinking we were going to win,” Wieclaw confessed.

“We knew we were going to try our best to win, but I don’t know, we just worked hard and it turned out good for us.”

Kelsey Harrigan, who was also named to All-Tournament team, hit a pair of treys in the third to keep GI in the game. GI’s Alexis Chiarenza also made All-Tournament.

It was a rush so intense that Jenelle Gurbacki almost couldn’t explain it.

Gurbacki drained the three that put the Eagles up, for good, 42-40 in their win over Tonawanda.

“It was exciting,” Gurbacki said with a smile. “I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

After falling to NT on Wednesday the Eagles came into Thursday’s game with an edge. An edge that was born out of knowing that even though NT is good, they felt they had it within them to beat the Jacks after playing them so close in an NFL match up just nine days prior.

“We had to push each other,” Gurbacki said. “(Wednesday) we lost by a few, which we could have won. We had to push it together.”

Gurbacki, also named to All-Tournament team, finished with eight points.

Playing their best, most complete game of the season CSAT jumped to a 7-1 lead thanks to some early shots by Kiara Davis-Patterson (12 points) and Kiara King (15 points). But for CSAT this game was more than about the points. It was the effort. They played hard, smart team ball as they carefully listened to and applied coach Lindsay Bergman’s instructions from the sidelines.They rushed back on defense. Followed through on shots and scored several points off of second and third looks.

For Tonawanda, going 0-2 in its tournament certainly wasn’t expected but coach Jay Hall said he couldn’t fault his team’s effort.

“They didn’t quit,” he said.

Sydney Taylor (12 points) hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer that brought the Warriors to their feet and pulled them within one point, 9-8.

Haley Shoelerman (seven points/nine rebounds) and Samantha Kurdziel (10 rebounds) battled on the boards as Tonawanda (5-4) clawed its way back into the game. But they couldn’t rebound emotionally after Davis-Patterson sank a highlight reel three to tie the game at 35-35 with seven seconds to force the OT.

“Resilience,” Bergman said. “We’ve had some tough games where we could have come away with a win. It could have gone either way, but finally. We didn’t quit. Thirty-two plus minutes of basketball. The extra four minutes in overtime I feel was the best four minutes we’ve played all year.”

CSAT made it a sweep over THS as they won the JV title game 38-35.
Grand Island defeated NT in the JV third place title game.

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