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Late Tonawanda rally nips Albion in Class B1 semifinal

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 5 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Justice Nauden (24) puts up a shot over Tonawanda’s Haley Slater (23) during the Purple Eagles narrow 53-49 loss to the Lady Warriors in the Section VI Class B1 semifinals this evening at Sweet Home.

In front after each of the first three quarters, No. 6 seed Albion struggled through a turnover plagued fourth quarter and dropped a narrow 53-49 decision to No. 7 Tonawanda this evening in a Section VI Class B1 semifinal game at Sweet Home.

Trailing by five, 37-32, Tonawanda opened the decisive final period with a turnover aided 11-4 run to rally into the lead at 43-41. Back-to-back threes by Haley Slater and Dahnea Harrison capped off that uprising which was ignited by a pair of tallies off turnovers.

Albion did stay within two at 45-43 after a pair of free throws by Chanyce Powell and again at both 47-45 and 49-47, both times off layups by Justice Nauden.

The Purple Eagles finally pulled even at 49-49 on a pair of free throws by Nauden with 34 seconds to go but could not regain the lead.

Albion’s Chanyce Powell (10) looks to drive around Paige Hill (21) of Tonawanda.

Tonawanda went back on top to stay at 52-49 as Harrison hit what proved to be the game winning three with 20 seconds to go.

Albion could not find the range the next time up the court and the Lady Warriors put a lock on the win on a free throw by Slater with 13 seconds to go.

“The turnovers and cold shooting hurt and the Tonawanda kids hit a couple of big shots,” said Albion Coach Lucian Price of the Lady Warriors late threes. “I’m proud of how hard our girls have battled this year.”

Slater finished with 18, including five threes, as Harrison and Haley Schoelemna both had 11.

Albion’s Mandi Covis (3) puts up a shot over Tonawanda’s Haley Schoeleman.

Nauden took game high scoring honors with 23 and Powell netted 18 for Albion as Savannah Allen added 4 and Sarah Metzler and Olivia Prest 2 each.

Albion grabbed a 12-9 lead at the end of the first quarter as Nauden had a three, a three point play and a layup off a steal and Powell a pair of rebound buckets.

The Purple Eagles doubled their advantage a bit to six, 25-19, at the half as Nauden had a three-point play off a steal and two layups, Powell a layup and a jumper and Prest two free throws in the second period.

Albion’s Savannah Allen (11) puts up a shot against Tonawanda defender Haley Slater (23).

Albion opened up its biggest lead of 10, 29-19, at the outset of the third period after a layup by Powell and two free throws by Metzler.

The Purple Eagles maintained a five point, 37-32, advantage at the three-quarter mark as Powell and Allen took turns scoring on back-to-back layups later in the period.

However, the Purple Eagles were unable to keep the momentum as Tonawanda came battling back down the stretch with a 21-12 scoring edge, including two threes by Harrison and one by Slater, to clam the narrow victory and advance to Sunday’s B1 title contest.

Albion finishes the season at 12-10.

Albion’s Jayne Bannister (2) looks to shoot as Tonawanda’s Haley Schoeleman (14) tries to block.

Albion’s Jessica Raglan (20) drives around Tonawanda’s Haley Slater (23).