HENRIETTA — Midlakes High School’s women’s basketball team has set a goal of winning its first sectional title in three years.
On Friday night, that goal became a reality.
The top-seeded Screaming Eagles held off No. 3 seeded Wellsville 51-41 at Rush-Henrietta High School to win the Class B2 championship.
“I’m thrilled for the kids,” Midlakes head coach Nate Rich said afterwards. “They deserve this. They’ve worked very hard this year, so I’m so happy for them. They’ve put in the time; they deserve this moment.
Screaming Eagles junior Kate Mahoney was named tournament MVP. The guard was joined by junior Grace Murphy and Penn Yan’s Kaley Griffin on the all-tournament team.
Murphy finished with a game-high 11 points, while Mahoney added 10.
Midlakes (18-5) led for most of the game on a night that neither team reached the double until Screaming Eagles sophomore guard Stella DelPapa downed a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left in the first quarter. In a low-scoring first half, Midlakes fought their way to a 19-16 lead.
The Screaming Eagles were active all night defensively, and they seemed to pull away in the third quarter, taking a 30-22 lead midway through the period. However, Wellsville (17-5) cut the deficit to 30-26 before Midlakes junior Camryn Ford drained a 3-point corner past his bench in the dying seconds of the period, giving his side a advantage of 7 points before the match. last quarter.
The Lions scored six of the first seven points in the fourth to cut the lead to two. The score was 36-33 with five minutes remaining when junior center Callie Walker received a Screaming Eagles base pass. After Walker caught the pass in the middle of the paint, she finished her short jump with a bank on the glass to put her team in place 5.
Walker contributed 10 points in the win.
It became a free-throw play in the final minutes of the contest, and Midlakes took advantage.
A minute after Walker’s bucket, the game remained even when Wellsville missed a pair of free throws. Junior guard Cate Peacock made a pair on the other end.
Wellsville went to the line again on the next possession and suffered another 0 for 2. The Lions eventually climbed to within 42-37 and had a chance to get back to a one-possession game, but Walker held off. made a nice defensive save on the inside and landed a big rebound with less than a minute left.
“I knew if we could just handle the press and hit a few free throws, we’d be OK,” Rich said.
The Screaming Eagles used more free throws to extend their lead, allowing them to join the 2017-18 and 2018-19 teams as section winners. The 2017–18 team qualified for all four Class B State Finals, while the following year’s group lost in the State Final.
“We could potentially do a state race,” Rich said. “We’re as good as anyone we’ve played against all season. I told the kids. It’s just a matter of execution on the floor.