Medina, Wilson to meet in all N-O B2 final

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 3 March 2017 at 10:08 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Niagara-Orleans League foes Medina and Wilson will meet for the Section VI Class B2 title on Sunday at Buffalo State College. Shown here during this past week’s semifinal round are Medina’s Je’ne Brown and Wilson’s Rachel Senek.

In will be an all Niagara-Orleans League title matchup as No. 5 seed Medina faces No. 3 Wilson for the Section VI Class B2 girls basketball tournament championship at 6 p.m. Sunday at Buffalo State College.

“I think it’s great. It shows how strong our league has become and how strong it was this year,” said Medina Coach Ken Haak.

“It’s a great accomplishment for our league,” agreed Wilson Coach Brian Baker. “It’s a credit to the improvement of the league and to the hard work of the players and coaches.It’s a great matchup.”

It will be the rubber match as the two teams split a pair of regular season N-O meetings. Medina scored a 61-56 victory in the first meeting but Wilson avenged what was their only league loss by claiming a 50-43 victory in the rematch.

The Mustangs bring a 17-5 record into the final while the Lakewomen are 19-3.

The title game appearance will be the first for Medina since the Mustangs appeared in four straight Class B2 championship contests from 1995 to 1998. The Mustangs captured the championship n both 1996 with a 36-31 win over Starpoint and in 1997 with  56-45 victory over East Aurora but lost in 1995 to Starpoint 51-44 and in 1998 to Alden 68-41.

For Wilson this will be the fifth championship game appearance in the last eight years. The Lakewomen have gone 4-1 during that stretch defeating Roy-Hart 35-33 in 2010, Allegany-Limestone 49-35 in 2011, Buffalo Arts 58-34 in 2013 and Akron 46-20 in 2014. Their only title loss was to Southwestern in 2012 by a 40-27 margin.

Both teams scored narrow wins in the semifinals to get a shot at the title. Medina needed a big 19-6 fourth period scoring surge to rally for a 41-31 win over No. 1 Olmsted while Wilson nipped No. 2 Buffalo Arts 60-58.

Sophomore Je’ne Brown has spearheaded the Medina offense with a school single season record 418 points (19.9 average) and 244 rebounds.  Another sophomore, Maddie Williams, is also averaging in double figures at 11.8.  On the boards, the Mustangs have also had seniors Molley Gross and Maddie Winters with 137 and 135 rebounds respectively.

Two other seniors, Emily Kams and Kayla Cuadra, have rounded out the Mustangs top six during the season.

“We have to play great defense and rebound well because they are big,” said Baker. “We just have to go out and play our game. It should be an interesting game.”

Offensively Wilson has been sparked by the senior duo of Rachel Senek and Kayla Neumann who combined for 48 of the Lakewomen’s 60 points in the narrow semifinal win.  Senek has scored 451 points (20.5 ave.) and also has 158 rebounds, 107 assists and 102 steals on the season while Neumann has  306 points (13.9 ave.), 138 rebounds, 104 steals and 75 assists.

“We certainly have to play great defense against Senek and Neumann as they are great scorers,” said Haak. “We have to make them work as hard as possible for their shots and not give them any easy looks. The big key is we have to play our game and not get too caught up in the moment.”

The victor will advance to the Section VI Class B state qualifier game next week against the winner of Sunday’s Class B1 title contest between Depew and Fredonia.