Monday afternoon at Kenmore West high school saw girls basketball between the Grand Island Lady Vikings and Lewiston Porter Lady Lancers; a game that wasn’t scheduled to be played at first.
The two squads were tied at second place in the Niagara-Frontier League with a 9-2 league record. Originally it was going to be a coin flip to determine who faces Lockport for the league championship. However, both teams wanted to settle it on the court to decide a winner and the game was then approved.
Grand Island started off with a 10-3 run, beginning with Lydia Sweeney hitting a three-pointer while her teammate Grace Carey got four points from the free-throw line and in the paint. The offense would continue as Sweeney ended with eight points in the quarter, giving her team an early 18-10 lead.
The second quarter saw both Grand Island and Lew-Port battling back-and-forth to try and gain an edge over their competitor. We also saw a battle between Sweeney and Skowronski as the two 22’s were aggressively putting up points for their respective teams. The Lady Vikings went on to outscore the Lady Lancers 14-7. Sweeney ended up with 15 points, giving Grand Island a 34-17 lead heading into halftime.
The Lady Lancers came out strong in the third quarter due to their full-court press. After Skowronski hit a layup in the beginning, the defensive pressure made Grand Island commit turnovers. From there, Lew-Port capitalized and started out the third quarter with a 6-0 run.
Lady Vikings head coach Kristin Wegrzyn called timeout after the Lady Lancers’ hot start and made adjustments to break the press.
“We just had to adjust their press breaker, understanding how they were moving in it,” Wegrzyn said. “If they were in man to man, we leave Lydia and let her break it and then when they’re in the zone press, we had to switch a little bit.”
Scoring from Skowronski and freshman Sophie Auer led Lew-Port to outscore Grand Island 19-16, but Sweeney’s 12-point third quarter was able to keep the Lady Vikings out in front, winning 50-36 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw Grand Island killing clock; there were times when the offense would shoot with less than five seconds left on the shot clock. This would kill the Lady Lancers chances of creating a comeback.
Sweeney added four more points to give her 31 on the day along with 12 rebounds. In addition to great defense from Carey and Kayla Robinson, Grand Island went on to win 57-43 over Lewiston Porter.
“It felt really nice, anytime you play Lew-Port, you’re gonna get a battle,” Wegrzyn said. “We came in knowing that we needed to control our own destiny, come in with a lot of energy. Every quarter was 0-0, obviously there was a little bit of a lead at halftime, but you’re just telling them in the locker room, it’s 0-0. We switched up some of our defenses this time to try and take away their penetration, which was huge for them the past two games and I thought we did a really good job of coming away with that tonight.”
Sweeney put up a double-double performance like she has multiple times this season. It’s a role that Sweeney wants to have.
“She’s definitely our floor general, you want the ball in her hands. They were throwing three girls at her and it actually helped us with that because we started driving to the lane and dishing off,” Wegrzyn said.
The win by the Lady Vikings now sets up a Niagara-Frontier League Title matchup between them and the Lockport Lady Lions. The Vikings are the defending NFL champions but lost to Lockport 53-50 earlier this season. Wegryzn knows the challenge ahead and the game plan to stop the Lady Lions.
“We’re going to have to stop their three studs; Jasmine White who’s key in their first win over us,” Wegrzyn said. “Camri King who finishes down low and then Ashlynn Johnson so we’re definitely going to key in on the three of them and make some of their other girls make plays.”
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