Lady Billies oust Newfane, set to defend B1 crown

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Fredonia Lady Hillbillies head coach Carol Zirkle talks to her team during Thursday’s victory over Newfane in a Class B1 semifinal at Kenmore West High School.

KENMORE – After Dunkirk’s Cinderella run, it was up to Fredonia to write its own fairytale ending to advance to the Class B1 final.

Unlike Dunkirk, however, the Lady Hillbillies had to upset a team that was ranked number one in the bracket.

Fredonia took care of business.

The Lady Billies defeated top-seeded Newfane, 46-32, in the second game of the B1 semifinals at Kenmore West in Buffalo on Thursday night.

Fredonia started off quickly, jumping out to a 9-2 lead with 5:35 remaining in the first quarter. Katie Price hit a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws in the run, and finished the first quarter with eight points.

Fredonia led Newfane (20-2) by eight points after the first quarter, and held a nine point advantage midway through the second period of play.

Newfane finished the second quarter with six straight points, including hitting two out of three free throws after drawing a foul on a last-second heave from half-court. The Lady Billies were held to only three points in the period, and only led by three at the break.

After only scoring three points in the first half, Newfane’s leading scorer, Paige Emborsky, scored four straight baskets, including a 3-pointer to tie the score and a layup to take the lead. Newfane went up 26-22 in the third quarter.

Still, Fredonia wasn’t ready to give up on its storybook ending. In fact, it only made the story even better.

Fredonia responded with a three from Price and a bucket from Gracie Morrison to regain the lead. The Lady Billies tacked on with a three from Kazlin Beers and another three from Price at the buzzer, to end the quarter on an 11-0 run to take a 33-26 lead into the final frame.

“It’s happened before when we’ve gotten down,” said Price. “I knew if we calmed down, we would be right back into it.”

Fredonia scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, capping off the scoring run at 18-0, and giving the Lady Billies a 40-26 lead.

Fredonia led the entire fourth quarter, finishing off the top-ranked Lady Panthers, and earning Fredonia another trip to the Class B1 final.

“I’m just so proud that this team fought back,” said Fredonia coach Carol Zirkle. “It’s the same thing as last year. We were down last year and came back and won. The girls have that experience and have that confidence. They know they can come back.”

Price finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while A’Cetta Farriat added 19 rebounds. Beers had 11 points, in addition to playing defense on Emborsky for the majority of the game, holding the 22-points-per-game scorer to only 16 points on Thursday.

“I’ve been to Buffalo State the past three years,” said Price. “To be there with this team is fun and exciting… Especially when we’re the lower seed. They keep underestimating us and we just keep winning.”

Now, the stage is set for a clash between the longtime rivals, Dunkirk vs. Fredonia, for the Class B1 championship. Tipoff is noon Sunday at Buffalo State.

Twitter: @bradencarmen