SALAMANCA — In a tight, defensive battle with Cattaraugus-Little Valley, the Salamanca girls basketball team pulled away from a 19-16 halftime lead by holding the Timberwolves to only two points in the third quarter.
Salamanca outscored CLV 9-2 in the third and held on for a 32-25 victory in a CCAA East II showdown Monday night, putting the Warriors within a game of the league championship.
Nizhoni Kennedy paced Salamanca (6-10, 6-1) with eight points, seven rebounds and three steals. Kylee Dowdy added eight points and six rebounds, Jaeden Hubbard had eight rebounds and three steals and Marla Warrior made three assists.
"I told our girls that they needed to just be poised under pressure," Salamanca coach Bryelle Wallin said. "We let the intensity of the game get to us, the lack of foul calling get to us — I mean we were fouling too — but it was just about settling down, taking good possessions offensively and that translated into defense because we weren't working so hard."
After an 0-7 start to the season, the Warriors have won six of their last nine games, including their last six in league play. A win today at North Collins (5 p.m.) in the Warriors’ league finale would earn Salamanca at least a share of the CCAA East II title in the race against Ellicottville (5-1 in-league).
"They are rising to the challenge and they are very excited about this opportunity," Wallin said of her team playing for a league title. "It's been a long time coming. When we decided on this schedule, it was to compete for a league title and now that we're there, it's right in our grasp and it's in their hands. North Collins will be a good test tomorrow, they won't roll over and just let us win. Coming off of this, it will be a challenging game but I really think they're up to the challenge and they want this for themselves, so that's exciting."
Madeline Jones, Abby Minnekine and Emma Rupp scored six points each for Cattaraugus-Little Valley (5-13, 2-5).
Salamanca controlled the boards against the T-Wolves, led by forwards Dowdy and Hubbard, who give the Warriors a size advantage most nights in the league.
“We don't go to our post as much as we should,” Wallin said. “We don't use that to our advantage as much as we should. We've been making some steady progress. Tonight was just about reversal and we were able to do that. We have had success in the last couple of games, but we didn't go to our bigs as much as I would have like to. But if we can play the inside-outside game, get them to play us low and then go out, we would have more success.”
Jones 3 0-0 6, Ab. Minnekine 1 4-6 6, Mikowicz 1 0-0 2, Rupp 2 2-2 6, Dorman 2 1-4 5. Totals: 9 7-12 25.
Hill 1 0-0 2, Warrior 0 1-2 1, Rea 1 0-0 2, Kennedy 3 0-0 8, Dowdy 4 0-0 8, Hubbard 2 3-5 7. Totals: 13 4-7 32.
Cattaraugus-LV 4 16 18 25
Salamanca 9 19 28 32
Three-point goals: C-LV 0; Sala. 2 (Kennedy 2). Total fouls: C-LV 12, Sala. 13. Fouled out: None.
JV: Salamanca won.