Tonawanda News — When Tonawanda girls basketball coach Jay Hall opened up the gym for his team's first practice this season, it was hard for him to envision his Lady Warriors ending the year with another ECIC IV regular-season title after losing four seniors.
But on Tuesday night when the final buzzer sounded and the Lady Warriors celebrated at mid-court, the dream became a reality. Tonawanda's 48-39 win over Alden ensures at least a share of the regular-season league title with Holland, who beat Cleveland Hill on Tuesday night and still has three games left.
"Last year's team was phenomenal and we knew it was going to be tough coming into this year because we lost an awful lot," he said. "We knew we were a different team, but (the players) wanted it from the start. They worked really hard and it feels great to be able to win back-to-back championships, tie or not."
It was fitting that on senior night the Lady Warriors were lifted to victory by senior forward Alex Moore, who's known for her defense and hustle. But against the Lady Bulldogs, Moore was aggressive offensively and finished with 10 points and made key baskets throughout the game to help THS maintain its advantage.
"(Alex) was nice and a surprise offensively," Hall said. "I'm glad for her because she works really hard. Even when she was out she was at practice every day and all these kids — it's a great pleasure to coach them."
After the first quarter, the Lady Warriors trailed 14-7 and looked flat after an emotional senior night presentation. Hall was nervous because his team wasn't doing the little things and Alden was making Tonawanda pay.
"It's hard to come out fired up because they're so emotional and almost (overly) fired up," he said. "I was worried after the first quarter. We weren't boxing out, we were giving them tons of second shots, but after that first quarter we kept chipping away and cut it to one at half."