Leading off today:
Section 5 has had the upper hand in the NYSPHSAA girls basketball quarterfinals for as long as anyone can recall, and 13 wins in 15 games from 2012-14 increased the Rochester area's lead in the series to 96-51.
On Saturday, Buffalo-area competitors exacted a measure of revenge with wins in four of the five classes, the best Section 6 performance since the tournament added a fifth class in 2004, according to The Buffalo News. Williamsville South (Class A), East Aurora (B), Chautauqua Lake (C) and Panama (D) all scored wins.
With star senior Jenna Einick leading the way with 20 points and 18 rebounds, defending state Class C champ Chautauqua Lake beat Mynderse 56-44 to earn a return to Troy, which had been the Thunderbirds expectation.
"It's their mind frame," Chautauqua Lake coach Eric Schuster said. "I think they'd be very disappointed if we didn't make it back to states. We'll be back at it on Monday."
Said Einick: "We definitely had some pressure, but at least we took it one game at a time and that's all I can ask for."
East Aurora got four double-figure efforts to overcome an early 17-11 deficit and beat Livonia 63-46. Sophomore Julianna Misenheimer scored 20 points, including four 3-pointers, while senior Erin Nason had 16 points and junior Sam Youngman had 10. Freshman Emma Brinker, fresh off 29 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks in the Section 6 Class B title win over Cleveland Hill, added 10 points and 14 rebounds.
East Aurora brought back a talented group from the 2014 team that won the sectional Class A title. An enrollment dip dropped East Aurora to Class B this season.
"From the summer, people said, 'Oh, East Aurora is going to states," Youngman said. "But we didn't want to have that pressure on us. We've just tried to stay calm and collected, and we've been doing a great job. It's unreal."
More on Troy: All 11 sections will be represented in the NYSPHSAA semifinals at Hudson Valley Community College beginning Friday, none more so than Section 6 with its four teams. Sections 1 and 2 qualified three teams apiece. With four of its boys teams having booked trips to Glens Falls, it's going to be a busy weekend for Section 1. And having a total of six Section 2 teams alive -- several with good prospects of playing in finals -- could be a boost for weekend attendance.
Injury a blow: Understandably, Wallkill fans will be wondering what might have been had senior guard and captain Rachel Cohen not torn her ACL during a scrimmage last week. Without her, Wallkill pushed Albertus Magnus to the limit before losing 56-53 to Albertus Magnus in an overtime Class A quarterfinal.
Freshman Dani LaRochelle missed the potential game-winning free throw with 0.6 seconds left in regulation, then came back to hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime.
"I wanted to make up for missing that foul shot, first of all," LaRochelle told The Journal News. "If we lost, I wouldn't have been able to sleep at night."
Late in regulation, senior Madison McGrath went 3-for-3 from the line after being fouled from beyond the arc in the final minute, pulling the Falcons to within three. Then senior Val Arbuco banked in the tying 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation.
PSAL final: South Shore's Brianna Fraser, a Maryland recruit, scored 22 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked six shots in the Vikings' 42-30 win over Grand Street Campus for the Class AA championship and a trip to the Federation tournament in two weeks.