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Published: March 03, 2010 10:58 pm

GIRLS BASKETBALL: GI wins second straight A-1 title

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

BUFFALO — Midway through the fourth quarter Wednesday the Blue Crew was chanting her name. And for good reason.

Brooke DeMarco scored a game-high 17 points, including her team’s first nine of the fourth quarter, to lift second-seeded Grand Island to a 42-27 win over No. 1 Williamsville East in the Class A-1 championship at Erie Community College’s Flickinger Center.

“Brooke definitely stepped up big,” Vikings coach Jen Banker said. “It was great to see her take advantage of the opportunity.”

It is the second consecutive title for GI (16-5 overall), which will play Amherst in the Class A crossover game at 1 p.m. Saturday at ECC. The Tigers, who upset Pioneer in the A-1 finals, beat the Vikings in last year’s crossover tilt.

“I’m super excited,” senior Mary Scherrer said. “We’ve been focused on this all year. We’re ready for Amherst. Hopefully we’ll get some payback.”

GI had a similar attitude after giving up 15 points to the Flames in the opening quarter. The Vikings shut down the paint from then on as 6-foot-2 center Cassie Oursler protected the rim. The freshman finished with 15 rebounds and four blocks, three of which came during the second quarter when East was held to just two points.

“I think we finally realized that we needed to buckle down defensively if we were going to win this game,” Banker said. “If I could only get them to figure that out to start the game.”

That trend continued into the second half as East had to work for every shot it got. The Flames’ leading scorer Becca Rumschik was held without a field goal and to just three points before leaving the game at the end of the third quarter with a knee injury.

GI’s top gun, Kallie Banker, had a similarly frustrating night. Battling both a bad back and East’s box-and-one defense, the sophomore managed just five points and four steals. Still, it was her 3-pointer two minutes into the second half that built GI’s lead to seven.

From there, DeMarco took over. With the lead still at seven to begin the fourth quarter, the junior scored nine consecutive points for the Vikings, putting them up 40-27 with just a few minutes remaining.

A couple free throws and offensive rebounds from Scherrer sealed the deal on the win. The senior finished with a double-double, 11 points and 10 boards. Danielle Wegrzyn added nine points for GI, which played only five players.

“They threw a box-and-one at Kallie, so we knew the rest of the team had to step up,” said DeMarco, who added seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks. “Everybody contributed.”

Shannon Hughes led East, which is led by former Wilson coach Larry Lash, with eight points. All of those came in the first quarter, though. Bailey Weigel added six points and three blocks in the loss