Southwestern ousts Gowanda in B2 semifinal

OBSERVER Photo by Lisa Monacelli Gowanda’s Miya Scanlan attempts a shot during the Lady Panthers’ Class B2 semifinal loss to Southwestern, Wednesday in Brocton.

BROCTON — The third-seeded Southwestern Lady Trojans scored the game’s first 10 points and kept No. 10 seed Gowanda off balance most of the night, en route to a 95-38 win in a Class B2 girls basketball semifinal Wednesday at Brocton High School.

Top Southwestern scorer Erin Radack scored 14 in the first quarter as the Lady Trojans (20-2) raced out to a 27-10 lead after a period, while making sure the Lady Panthers (8-14) couldn’t get anything going on offense.

“They’re the best team we’ve played all year,” Gowanda coach Mark Mungovan said. “We were just completely outmatched.”

Dave Turnbull, Southwestern’s coach, attributed his team’s fast start to superior conditioning.

“We work on that all season long and it showed tonight,” he said. “I tell the girls all the time, I like our defense to get our offense going. We get a lot of points off transition, which really makes life easier for them.”

“They were switching defenses, they were very aggressive, they were beating us to every loose ball,” Mungovan said. “I mean, there wasn’t one facet of the game we played well in today, and they got us out of sync and kept us that way.”

Southwestern extended its lead in the second period and continued to destroy the Lady Panthers’ defense with fast breaks and pinpoint passing, resulting in easy layups.

Seven Lady Trojans scored in the quarter, while important Lady Panthers scoring option Alexis Hawkins completed a scoreless first half. Southwestern took a 54-15 advantage into the locker room for halftime.

Radack and Sofia Genareo each wound up with 18 in the contest as the Lady Trojans broke a school record for points scored in a game. Izzy Bursch had 13 for Southwestern, Gianna Hoose scored 12 and Alanna Dibble added nine points.

Despite the offensive heroics, Turnbull said the root of his team’s success is defense.

“I tell the kids, ‘Defense travels, game to game,'” he said. “We’ve had games where we can’t throw the ball in the ocean, but we’ve stayed in those kinds of games because the girls are willing to work so hard on the defensive end.”

The second half saw each team clear its bench and get playoff experience to its lesser-known players. Turnbull proudly noted after the game that his daughter Mia, an eighth-grader he called up from jayvees, got into the game and scored a basket. Another eighth-grade call-up, Ellie Lawton, sparked the loudest cheering of the night from the Southwestern faithful in the final period when she got fouled but hit the layup and then made the free throw.

“It was fun to see the young group that came up,” Dave Turnbull said. “I had (invited them) to help out for practice because we only had eight players on varsity (during the season). They worked so hard for us during the week, I told them, ‘Hey, you guys are getting uniforms, and if you get an opportunity, I’m gonna let you play.’ “

Unwilling to go out quietly in her last high school contest, Hawkins had a huge second half, scoring 19 points to lead all Gowanda scorers for the game. She drew plenty of contact on drives to the hoop and went 8-for-10 from the free-throw line, completing two three-point plays. She also drained a three-pointer after teammate Miya Scanlan saved the ball right to her while flying out of bounds. Scanlan wound up Gowanda’s second-leading scorer, with eight points.

Despite the loss, Mungovan said his team — which won road games at seventh-seeded JFK and second-seeded Eden to start the playoffs — can take some positives from the day.

“We made a nice little run at the end of the year and we’re happy with ourselves,” he said. “We’ll get back in the gym and make another attempt to get here next year.”

NOTES: Samika Matthews led Southwestern in rebounding with 12 boards. Dibble had nine for the team. … Radack finished with five steals while Bursch made four steals. … No non-scoring statistics were available for Gowanda.