Weekly Feature



2018-03-08 / Sports

Girls hoops team advances to sectional final

by TAYLOR NIGRELLI
Reporter


Orchard Park’s Sam Fischer muscles her way to the hoop during the team’s semifinal victory over Jamestown at Kenmore West High School Friday. 
Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Orchard Park’s Sam Fischer muscles her way to the hoop during the team’s semifinal victory over Jamestown at Kenmore West High School Friday. Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com For the second time in three years, the Orchard Park girls basketball team will play for a Section VI Class AA championship. The Lady Quakers will take on Frontier, the defending runner-up, Wednesday at Buffalo State College at 7 p.m. They’ve defeated the Lady Falcons twice this year, but they know they’re in for a tough game.

“They are an extremely hard-working team,” Orchard Park coach Gary Janas said. ‘They have two fantastic guards and they leave everything on the floor. This is actually going to be the hardest game all year. Frontier is athletic, they are fast, they force you into turnovers, they swarm the ball, they all hit the three-ball. Their point guard can drive. This is a game where we have to be firing on all cylinders. Otherwise, we’re not going to be able to get it done.”

The Lady Quakers are expecting a high-intensity game with Frontier putting forth strong defensive pressure. The offense will have to remain composed if the team wants to come away with its first sectional title since 1997.

“I think this game is going to be a slugfest, to be honest with you,” Janas said. “I think it’s going to be a close game where the team that wants it more is going to come away with it. It’s not necessarily the ideal match-up, as they are fast and their defensive pressure is fantastic. I’m preparing them for it. We have to be ready for the big stage at Buff State.”

The Lady Quakers have not faced much resistance in their first two playoff games. They got a 45-18 win over Williamsville North in the quarterfinal round. Sam Fischer led the way with 17 points, 15 rebounds, five steals and three blocks. Danielle Hore had 11 points, five steals and five assists. The defense dominated throughout the game, as was the game plan.

“Defensively, we tried to play an up-tempo, full-court man press,” Janas said. “I preached trying to stay with your girl as much as possible. I wanted them so close that they could touch cloth. The girls did a nice job in terms of putting pressure on, causing turnovers. When they did start to run their offense, we didn’t give them any easy looks at the basket. I said ‘I want every shot contested, I don’t want to get beat down the floor. No fast breaks. Make sure we’re all in passing lanes.’ They did a fantastic job of cutting off the easy buckets.”

The Lady Quakers followed up that effort with a 57-30 win over Jamestown. Fischer again led the way with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Hore had 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. The defense again stepped up to slow down a tremendous offense.

“In that game, Jamestown is deadly,” Janas said. ‘They have athletic players who can all shoot all over the floor. We preached the same thing – to take out their top two shooters. I wanted to put some of my best defenders, Lauren Miller, Lily Flannery and Jenna Probst on them. I told them ‘you guys are going to be locked on to their two shooters. I don’t want anything easy. You’re on them, you’re playing tight man.’ The rest of the girls would play more of help man and transition a little bit.”

Meanwhile, the defense turned into offense, allowing the team to get transition points. They opened up a 19-9 lead early. The Lady Red Raiders moved into a 1-3-1 zone and slowed the Lady Quakers down, but Orchard Park figured out the zone and proceeded to another victory.

“If we can stop the three and push the tempo, we should be able to get some transition points,” Janas said. “They also played a 2-3 zone, and Danielle Hore was able to do a nice job penetrating that zone and dishing to Sam Fischer or getting the post touch back to Danielle to bury a three. We took a nice lead early in the first quarter, 19-9, and then kept our foot on the gas. It was probably one of the hardest-working starts we’ve had in a while. Sometimes we’re a little slow to start, but I told them, ‘this is the semis, you have to get up for it, let’s go.’ Right from the get-go, they were working hard. They then went to a 1-3-1, which we haven’t faced all year. We got a little sluggish in the second quarter offensively, so I had to take a timeout and sort of draw up a new game plan to go against their 1-3-1. We were able to execute it, and I’m proud the girls were able to execute without actually practicing it, just taking it from my whiteboard and transitioning it on the floor.”

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