Tonawanda News —
AMHERST — When Daemen women's basketball coach David Skolen scheduled a game against Philadelphia's Holy Family University, the idea was to get North Tonawanda native Sarah Pawlak a game in her hometown.
But that was before Pawlak's sister, Niagara-Wheatfield graduate Rachel Pawlak, signed on to play at Daemen over the summer, making Saturday afternoon's contest a welcome home party and a family reunion.
Both sisters got into the action and both teams were neck and neck all the way down to the final buzzer. But in the end, Holy Family, the No. 12-ranked NCAA Division II team in the nation, was able to hold on and thwart a late Wildcats surge to secure a 70-68 victory.
Sarah Pawlak enjoyed the trip back to Western New York, and said it was even better to get the win because she'll be able to rub it in a bit over Thanksgiving break when she returns in a week.
"It was the most perfect day — everyone was here and I felt the love from the hometown," she said. "Daemen played amazing too, so good job to them."
Skolen said the circumstances created a memorable moment for the Pawlak family and a great local reunion.
"That was much anticipated in the Pawlak family right there. That's pretty cool just to be able to have that (here in Buffalo)," he said.
In terms of the actual game, Sarah Pawlak finished with nine points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes, while her sister Rachel took advantage of every one of her nine minutes of action, scoring five points and grabbing two rebounds.
The game was close throughout the second half, as both teams traded the lead back and forth. With the game tied at 65 with just over a minute remaing, Sarah Pawlak scored her biggest basket of the night to put the Tigers up a bucket.