BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Going further in the postseason than ever before, the Depew girls basketball team is determined to find out how far they can advance.

“It’s just the start right now,” junior forward Mia Vannelli said after the Wildcats won 72-54 on against Southwestern to claim the program’s first Section VI Class B overall championship Wednesday night at Buffalo State Sports Arena. “We still have three more games, and hopefully three more wins.”

Depew (23-2), ranked fourth in the state in Class B with its only losses against AA opponents, returns to Buff State at 5 p.m. Saturday to play sixth-ranked Waterloo (22-1) from Section V in a Far West Regional playoff for a spot in the state semifinals.

“This is the first time in school history that the girls program has gotten this far,” Depew coach McKenzie Bezon said. “It means a lot to them, and they really buckled down.”

Vannelli led the dominant effort against Southwestern with 29 points and seven rebounds. The Division I softball prospect averaged 19.8 points and 14 rebounds during sectionals.

Kaylee Krysztof, the Binghamton-bound point guard who was a McDonald’s All-America nominee, had 19 points, raising her career total to 2,390, which ranks sixth on Western New York’s all-time scoring list. Krysztof also matched her season-high with 10 assists.

“They are a great one-two punch,” Bezon said. “If a team takes one away, the other is open. And we have three other amazing players on the floor who can knock down shots.”

Sophomore guard Ny’Ema Blair added 13 points and played tenacious defense on Southwestern’s high-scoring guard Reece Beaver, who finished with 28 points and 10 assists, but had to work for every basket.

“She’s our gritty defender,” Bezon said. “She creates havoc all the time.”


Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.