Weekly Feature



2018-01-11 / Sports

EA girls hoops tops first two foes of 2018

¦ Brinker posts triple-double in victory over Jamestown Sports Reporter

East Aurora’s girls basketball team kicked off the 2018 portion of its schedule with what coach Gary Schutrum called “probably our best game of the season” Jan. 3 when it knocked off Jamestown on the road, 46-37, in its first outing since being defeated for the first time this season.

The Lady Blue Devils, who hadn’t played since their 46-33 setback to Orchard Park on Dec. 29, had to fight hard throughout the contest to persevere. Fortunately for East Aurora, it was ready to accept that challenge as the Lady Blue Devils came up with big runs of their own to answer the ones that Jamestown constructed, most crucially their 15-2 effort to close out the game after Jamestown’s 16-8 surge in the third quarter gave the Lady Red Raiders a 35-31 lead heading into the final stanza.

“Playing the schedule that we have this year is forcing our girls to start to learn how to play at a different level in terms of speed, physicality and overall talent level,” Schutrum said. “It’s been neat watching them develop and play at a higher level.”

East Aurora, which turned a 12-4 first-quarter deficit into a 23-19 halftime lead, used its man-to-man defense in the fourth quarter to help put the game away. The Lady Blue Devils received a particularly big boost in that department from Katie Oar, who Schutrum said “put some really good pressure on one of their better scorers,” and from Morgan Mann, who “came in off the bench and played good defense.”

It ultimately was Emma Brinker, however, who showcased why she’s in the 
Sarah Tully works her way out of the key after picking up one of her four steals on the night during the East Aurora girls basketball team’s 54-35 win at Kenmore East on Monday. Tully also scored a team-high 22 points — one off her career best — and grabbed nine rebounds. 
Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Sarah Tully works her way out of the key after picking up one of her four steals on the night during the East Aurora girls basketball team’s 54-35 win at Kenmore East on Monday. Tully also scored a team-high 22 points — one off her career best — and grabbed nine rebounds. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com discussion where the best players in Western New York this season are concerned. Brinker “just dug in and dominated from the second quarter on,” Schutrum said, running the floor well, diving for balls and just taking the game over – while also inspiring her teammates to step up their games as well. In the end, Brinker’s efforts led to a monster triple-double of 21 points, 17 rebounds and 10 blocks that was just three assists shy of a quadruple-double. Brinker also had three steals to round out her effort.

“Jamestown is a pretty athletic crew that shoots the three well, can run the floor and defends well, and after we were struggling against the pressure in the first quarter, I thought we might be in trouble,” Schutrum said. “But, that’s why the game was so cool: We faced some adversity and we brushed it off. We collectively stepped up on defense, rebounded well and created some turnovers. And Haley [Potenza] came in off the bench and did a nice job against that pressure, and was among our guards who just continued to feed the ball into Emma in the post.”

Sarah Tully chipped in with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block for East Aurora, while Bronte Martin added four points, two assists and two steals. Emma Oar collected three points and six rebounds for the Lady Blue Devils, who made the most of another long road trip Monday by knocking off Kenmore East with relative ease, 54-35.

The Lady Blue Devils made sure to set the tone for the contest early, jumping out to a 17-6 lead and never looking back. East Aurora, which pushed its advantage to 32-13 by halftime, actually held a 17-0 lead late in the first quarter before Kenmore East was finally able to score.

Brinker continued to show that she’s far from a one-dimensional scorer by posting 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks. Tully, however, led the Lady Blue Devils by recording one of the best games of her life, according to Schutrum; Tully, who “was on her mark, ran the floor well, shot the ball beautifully and hit the offensive glass well,” paced East Aurora with 22 points, nine rebounds and four steals.

“We were anticipating a stronger challenge from them, but our girls were just in synch and jumped on them right away,” Schutrum said. “Brinker had another outstanding game and really did a great job of getting her teammates involved – it’s very difficult for opposing teams to try and play her in the format we’re using this year – and Katherine [Jancevski] was great for us at the point. She ran the point well for us and she took two charges, the first of which really set the tone for us early on defensively.”

Haley Potenza chipped in with five points, two rebounds and two assists for the victors, while Martin finished with four points, two rebounds and two steals. Katie Oar continued her inspired play by holding the Lady Bulldogs’ Serena Sordetto – who recorded her 1,000th career point earlier this year – under her season average, while Maddy McLaughlin’s return to the lineup following an extended break helped showcase the Lady Blue Devils’ depth in the post.

East Aurora (6-1, 3-0 ECIC III) returns to action this evening against Lake Shore before hosting Clarence Saturday afternoon in a non-league make-up game from earlier this season. The Lady Blue Devils don’t play again after that contest, however, until Friday, Jan. 19, when they travel to Springville.

“Lake Shore is a really tough game coming up for us,” Schutrum said. “I’ve watched them play a few times and their style is really different than ours. They’re fast and athletic, which they use to create havoc all over the court. We’ll do what we can do to compete and hopefully answer the challenge. I have a feeling it’ll be a really good game.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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