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Published: December 17, 2009 11:56 pm

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Vikings have too many weapons for Ken East

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

GRAND ISLAND — Brooke DeMarco was held scoreless and Kristin Wegrzyn managed only a pair of buckets. Still, the Vikings had too many weapons in their arsenal for Kenmore East Thursday.

Grand Island had five players with at least seven points in a critical early-season 44-33 Niagara Frontier League victory over the visiting Bulldogs. GI is now 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the league.

“Teams will have a tough time deciding (who to take away),” veteran Vikings coach Jenepher Banker said of her experienced squad. “We have a lot of options. We’ve got flexibility on the offensive end, which is nice.”

That was never more evident than in the first half when all the scoring came from rebounding specialist Mary Scherrer and bench players Jenna Raepple and Cassie Oursler. Scherrer scored all eight of her points in the opening quarter, while Raepple had six of her eight and Oursler netted five of her seven in the second.

That said, East (3-1, 1-1) actually led for most of the first 16 minutes. Its biggest lead was eight, but GI eventually closed the gap and took a 19-15 lead at the half.

“We had some open looks, especially in the first half when we had the lead, but we just didn’t finish,” Bulldogs coach Jack Blanch said.

That trend continued into the second half as Joelle Pollak, the reigning Tonawanda News Co-Player of the Year, was the only East player able to put the ball in the basket. She finished with a game-high 19 points along with six rebounds and five steals.

It wasn’t nearly enough, though, as GI’s big guns finally found their stroke in the second half. Kallie Banker, the reigning Niagara Gazette Player of the Year, scored all nine of her points after halftime. Danielle Wegrzyn added eight after the break.

“They stepped up,” Banker said of her top players, while also applauding her team’s defensive effort and intensity throughout. “It was our first home game, so I think there were a few jitters. It’s nice to come out of here with a win against a team like that, though.”

Banker and Oursler each had seven rebounds for the Vikings, while East’s Grace O’Connell took game-high honors with 10 boards.

“Our defense I thought was very good, but we need to improve on the offensive end,” Blanch said. “But we’ll watch the tape, get better and be ready for the next opponent and the next time we play them.”