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Lady Griffs take second in Emerling Basketball Tournament

SPRINGVILLE—The Springville-Griffith Institute girls basketball team may not have captured the 2017 Emerling Basketball Tournament, but they went down swinging against an upper-division opponent and once again knocked on the door for another come-from-behind rally Dec. 29.

While a few of the most recent wins have provided some exciting finishes, their title game against West Seneca East had all the makings of another amazing comeback until the Trojans out-performed the Griffins at the free-throw line in the fourth to take the contest 57-47.

The Griffins had a good start and led most of the first quarter by building a four-point lead late, before West Seneca tied the game at 12 by the quarter’s end. Leah Frank was on fire and scored 10 of the team’s dozen first-quarter points in help keeping pace with the Trojans.

From the final minute of the first quarter to midway through the second, West Seneca went on a 10-point run that turned a Griffin four-point lead into a six-point deficit. The team cut the Trojan lead to four by the half and it set the stage for some of Springville’s finest play this season in the third.

The Trojans came out strong with an 8-0 run to increase their lead to a dozen points just two minutes into the third, but Springville rallied for its best six minutes to date.

Down 12, the Griffins scored 18 of the game’s next 23 points to pull within one at the end of the third and then regained the lead at 39-38 during the opening seconds of the fourth.

The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair that favored West Seneca, although it was anyone’s game with the Griffins trailing by a pair of scores with half a quarter to play. In the end, it was the inability to convert from the foul line that ultimately cost Springville.

While free-throw shooting has been solid this season and has played a pivotal role in a pair of come-from-behind victories, the Griffins missed nine charity-strip shots in the fourth while the Trojans sank seven.

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The third quarter turnaround was sparked by Ivette Lewandowski. After the team went down 12 points, Lewandowski sank a three and a two in a span of 20 seconds to cut the deficit to seven. She scored nine of her game-high 19 in the third and her performance changed the momentum of the game.

Ryan Steadman fed off that adrenaline surge with a pair of buckets late in the third to bring the Griffins within one score at 38-35. A pair of Nyah Solly free throws ended the third with the Griffins down a point at 38-37.

After Lewandowski’s 19 points, Frank finished second on the team with 12 and both were named to the all-tournament team. The pair collectively scored 51 of the team’s 86 points during the tournament. Against West Seneca, Steadman scored six points and Kelsey Zabawa added four. Solly, Grace Zabawa and Mackenzie Engel each added a pair of points to round out the scoring in the title game.

To get to the championship game Springville defeated Middle Early College High School 39-24, Dec. 27. The Griffins put the game out of reach with a 15-point second quarter with a dozen of those points coming equally from Sydney Rosati and Lewandowski, who both finished the game with eight points behind a team-high 12 by Frank.

Springville will next travel to Maryvale Jan. 4 for a 7:30 p.m. tilt before finishing the week by hosting Cheektowaga at 6: 30 p.m. Jan. 5.

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