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Grand Island's Kallie Banker jumps into the arms of teammate Brooke DeMarco after the Vikings beat Amherst, 56-30, in the Section VI Class A crossover championship Saturday at Erie Community College's Flickinger Center.
James P. McCoy / Buffalo News

Girls Basketball: Grand Island routs Amherst for Class A title

NEWS SPORTS REPORTER

Kallie Banker had 21 points and her brother deserved a key assist as Grand Island beat Amherst, 56-30, to win the overall Section VI Class A title. Saturday's contest was played before 672 at Erie Community College's Flickinger Center.

Banker credited her brother, Kolby, a point guard on the boys team, with helping the Vikings practice on how to slow Amherst guard and Xavier-signee Shaquita Smith.

Banker and Brooke DeMarco played at the top of the Vikings' 2-3 zone, the place where Smith can do plenty of damage. "She's [Smith] very fast and has a quick first step and Kolby was able to mimic that pretty well in practice," said Kallie. "He was really on point."

The practice paid off as Smith was held without a field goal going 0 for 10. She finished with five points, all from the free-throw line. Her first points didn't come until there was 2:42 left in the third quarter. She fouled out with 5:32 left in the game.

Grand Island (17-5) advances to the Far West Regionals where it will play the Section V champion next Saturday at Gates-Chili High School at 2 p.m. It's the Vikings' first trip to regionals since 2005 when they lost to Honeoye Falls-Lima, 74-61.

Amherst was coming off a 64-62 overtime win over Pioneer in Tuesday's Class A-2 final. Smith put on a show in that game with 29 points.

With GI playing its guards high in the 2-3, Amherst had some early success getting the ball to the foul line for some open looks, but it wasn't enough to replace Smith's points.

"That's pretty much all they were doing. Once she [Smith] gave it up, one person ran with her and stayed with her and followed her down," said Amherst coach Mike Chatelle. "We tried to run her off some screens, but they did a good job of knowing where she was all the time. It's very disappointing. It's been quite a roller coaster in the last couple games."

Meanwhile, Banker would not be denied. She also had four three-pointers and handed out six assists. DeMarco added 15 points and Mary Scherrer added 12 with 11 rebounds.

Senior Casey McGuire did her best to keep Amherst in it with 10 points. The Tigers end the season 18-4. Amherst was bidding to win the overall title for the second year. The Tigers beat Grand Island, 40-33, in last year's game.

GI never trailed. The Vikings jumped out to an 11-5 lead after the first quarter and used a 12-0 run in the second quarter to take a 29-15 halftime lead.