Fredonia has seniority

Lady Billies rout Olean on Senior Night

OBSERVER Photos by Ron Szot Hannah Gullo (33) breaks up a pass intended for Marina Miketish (31) during Monday night girls basketball at Fredonia High School. Below, Fredonia’s seniors pose for a photo.

After a slow start in the first quarter, the Fredonia backcourt of Kazlin Beers, Madison Goss and Hannah Gullo were able to spur their offense into high gear to pull off a 58-34 victory against Olean on Senior Night.

Despite the 24-point margin of victory, the Lady Billies actually ended the first quarter trailing the Lady Huskies, 13-8.

“We did not do a good job running the offense,” Fredonia coach Carol Zirkle stated. “We were taking the first available shot and not necessarily the best shot. We weren’t getting into a flow, so we were forcing shots we shouldn’t have been forcing. We wanted to get more action into the offense to get better shots, and play more defense.”

That message translated well into the second quarter with the Fredonia offense beginning to take off, the backcourt acting as the catalyst.

Gullo and Beers hit back-to-back threes to take the lead at 16-13 with 6:30 left in the quarter. From then on, Fredonia found its rhythm and facilitated a well-balanced offense, with some added defensive pressure that led to more buckets in transition, and the Lady Billies found themselves up at the half, 26-17.

Fredonia settled in the second half as their offense began to look more methodical finding their open shooters. Solid pressure defense also contributed to the growing Fredonia lead.

In the end, Fredonia was hitting from every angle and it was enough to overwhelm the Lady Huskies.

“We had a lot of defense going on at the top,” Zirkle said. “When we were making the switches on defense we looked really good. … When we communicated and did what we were supposed to do on defense we were playing really well.”

Fredonia’s backcourt sparked Monday night’s victory with their energy and vision on offense while also keeping a high intensity level to force mistakes on defense. “I thought that Maddy (Goss) came in and made some really sweet passes to set us up for some layups inside. Hannah Gullo running the point, when she started calling different sets on offense, we were doing pretty good. And Kaz (Beers), she just brings the pressure (on defense),” Zirkle said. “Even when she doesn’t get a steal, she takes the other team out of what they want to do offensively.”

Five seniors: Katie Price, Goss, Bre Rosen, Gullo and Gracie Morrison played their final game at home court in Fredonia. For Gullo, the starting point guard and three-year veteran, the moment has certainly arrived, and it’s bittersweet to say the least.

“It’s surreal. (Playing) point guard it’s really my love,” Gullo said reflecting on her basketball career. “I love playing the game, and I’m going to miss it. It’s the biggest part of my life. It’s so much more than just playing on the floor. It affects every aspect of my life and I’m so grateful to have played basketball here for so many years. It’s bittersweet, I love playing and I can’t believe this is the last (home game), but I’m grateful to have this team and to be in Fredonia. It’s been a good run.”

When asked what she’d miss most, Gullo said that it was “all about the girls” and that “we love each other, we play for each other and we have a great time.”

“I like how they’ve gelled together as a team and how’ve they’ve improved throughout this season,” Zirkle said of her seniors this season. “I liked how’ve they’ve shown the growth, I’m happy with that. I also liked the leadership, I’m going to miss the leadership with these girls.”

Fredonia’s (8-11, 8-4) final regular season game is at Lake Shore, Thursday.

NOTES: Morrison finished with a team-high 14 points and 10 rebounds, Price scored 11 points with eight rebounds and seven steals, the backcourt trio of Beers, Gullo and Goss went for a combined 19 points nine assists as well as six steals by Beers … A’Cetta Farrait finished with 12 points and six rebounds … Sarah Aiello led Olean in scoring with a game-high 16 points.