Tonawanda News

March 6, 2014

CLASS B CHAMPS

By Dave Ricci scoreboard@niagara-gazette.com
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Sophomore Dahnea Harrison didn’t even think she would get into the game Wednesday night at Buffalo State.

It’s a good thing she did.

Harrison scored eight of her nine points in the fourth quarter and brought a spark off the bench that helped Section VI Class B-1 champion Tonawanda score a heart-stopping, 43-41 overtime win over B-2 champion Wilson in the Class B crossover game.

The win delivers the Warriors (17-4) to their first ever trip to the Far West Regionals where they will play Section V Class B champ Bishop Kerney at 11 a.m. Saturday at Finger Lakes Community College.

“It’s unbelievable, honestly, I’m speechless. I’m still in shock,” said Harrison, her eyes still wide with wonder. “I came in and I made the shots. And after that we just came out — it was crazy. It feels amazing. I’m shaking. ... It’s amazing. I can’t believe we made it. We’re making history. It’s crazy.”

Coach Jay Hall went to Harrison hoping she could provide a spark. His instincts were correct.

“We figured we’d give Dahnea a shot and I guess it paid off,” Hall said.

Harrison, well, it took a few minutes. But her heart finally stopped racing.

“He was like alright you go in,” Harrison said with a smile. “First shot I take I thought, ‘OK, gotta be a good one.’ So I was open and I took it. Luckily it went in.”

“Her points, they were huge,” said Kalyn Compeau. “I can’t even believe that she did it, to be honest. I’m so glad. She did exactly what we needed her to do right off the bench.”

Hardly the stuff legends are made up of, both teams were uncharacteristically cold in the first half as Tonawanda held a 6-3 lead after the first and Wilson took a 14-11 into the halftime break. Tonawanda senior Kalyn Compeau (24 points) was the exception as she scored everyone of the Lady Warriors’ first 14 points. Alanna Herne was the first Warrior other than Compeau to break onto the score sheet when her field goal midway through the third quarter cut Wilson’s lead to 19-16.

Having already faced and defeated the unknown, the Warriors were able to keep their composure and remain focused after Wilson took the lead.

“We’ve been doing that all year,” said coach Hall. “We’ve been down in games before and this team doesn’t want it to end.”

Harrison’s second 3-pointer put Tonawanda up 30-29 with 4:50 to play in regulation. Led by Emily Lasher (15 points) and Kaylee Stoelting (14) the Lakewomen showed they weren’t going to fold, as Stoelting’s bucket with 12.5 seconds left forced the extra frame.

But, as Compeau said after Tuesday’s practice, she and her teammates weren’t ready to go home just yet. Herne opened the OT with a basket then, with a minute to go, made the biggest steal of the game and dished the ball off to Compeau whose layup gave Tonawanda the 42-38 lead.

Lasher was 2 of 2 from line, before Herne sealed the deal with the game-clinching free throw with 7.4 to go. The buzzer went and the Lady Warriors flooded the floor in a celebration arguably the biggest win to Tonawanda basketball history.

“Now that we’ve come this far our confidence is boosted that much more now,” said Compeau. “We know the next team is going to be tough, but we’re going to just keep working harder each time.”