Weekly Feature

2018-01-11 / Sports

Lady Legends hoops has strong non-league performance

Sports Reporter

Haley Kirisits of Lancaster puts up a shot in traffic during the Lady Legends 45-27 win over Kenmore East last Wednesday. The win moved the team to 7-0 on the season. 
Photo by Don Daly Haley Kirisits of Lancaster puts up a shot in traffic during the Lady Legends 45-27 win over Kenmore East last Wednesday. The win moved the team to 7-0 on the season. Photo by Don Daly The Lancaster girls’ basketball team has rolled through the first month of the season. The team is 7-1, just recently losing its first game of the season, 58-47, to Frontier. Experience and mental toughness have been beneficial for the Lady Legends.

“Having six seniors on the team is very helpful, two of them being four-year starters,” Lancaster coach Jayson Jaskier said. “Sarah Wagner is also on her third year on varsity. They’re used to different game situations. To be able to bring that experience is very beneficial. In the preseason and in early December, we focused on being able to manage emotions. The girls have been able to play very level-headed in a variety of situations. We were down 17 at one point, and they were mentally tough. They were in overtime against Williamsville East and they were able to hold strong. Those two things have been very key.”

The Lady Legends won their home tournament over the holiday break. The team opened up the first round with a 57-36 win over Niagara Falls. Molly Mahony led the way with 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Hanna Wozniak had 15 points, seven assists and nine steals.

“The girls played well. They managed their emotions well,” Jaskier said. “It was during our Christmas break so we were outside of our normal routine. They were able to adjust their pregame routine and be ready. We didn’t play the game that Niagara Falls wanted to play, which was a fast-paced kind of game. We were able to slow it down and play in the half-court. That played to our advantage.”

Lancaster then took the championship game, 59-54, over Williamsville East in overtime. Mahony had 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight steals. Wozniak had 15 points, five assists, three rebounds and three steals. Alissa Backert had five points, four assists and six steals.

“That one came down to the wire,” Jaskier said. “We were consistently up by a couple possessions. It was the championship game so that added to the excitement and energy level in the gym. Toward the last two minutes of the fourth, it was back and forth. We had some close calls to end the game and had to go into OT. The girls played really smart. They start every quarter like it’s a 0-0 game. Every quarter is a new game. They used that mentality to win the game for us in overtime.”

The Lady Legends then took on Kenmore East on the road last Wednesday and came away with the win, 45-27. The defense was obviously a huge factor, holding the Lady Bulldogs to fewer than 30 points. Mahony had 12 points, 13 rebounds and seven steals. Backert had 13 points off the bench while Wozniak added six points, five steals and three assists.

“We wanted to play our game,” Jaskier said. “We knew that they were going to try and run and gun, and we were trying to make them play half-court. We played well on defense to be able to slow them down. We focused on making some small adjustments to clean some things up. We made some big defensive stands. The girls were able to play sound on defense and hold them to 27 points. We created extra possessions for ourselves and controlled the tempo of pace and the play.”

The team has quite a busy stretch coming up for the rest of the season. They’ve had several games rescheduled due to weather, meaning they’ll have to play about three games per week for the next month. That stretch will mostly feature league play, against some of the tougher teams in the area.

“I think once league play rolls around, they’ll be playing a brand-new game every night,” Jaskier said. “It doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the court, it matters how we play, prepare and respond to difficult situations as they come up.”

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