BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hamburg and Williamsville South will play for the Section VI Class A girls basketball championship for the third time in four seasons after the division rivals each won sectional titles Sunday at Buffalo State Sports Arena.
Although Hamburg hasn’t won the crossover title match in the previous meetings, and lost both matchups during the regular season, familiarity should foster the competitive spirit, and local hoops fans will remember the classic encounter from last year’s playoffs. Williamsville South star Gretchen Dolan put up 52 points in the 80-75 win, while Hamburg’s Clara Strack scored 41.
Neither of the McDonald’s All-America nominees played their best games in Saturday’s sectional finals, but both were good enough to lead their teams to victory.
Strack, a Virginia Tech recruit, had 11 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks, as Hamburg beat Sweet Home 47-39 to win its fourth consecutive Class B-1 title.
“I realized quickly into the game this wasn’t my game to score all the points,” Strack said. “I needed to help my teammates get all their points, so I was trying my best to find the open people down low. When I’d get the ball, they’d really crash on me, so I was just trying to disperse it as much as I could. It was really great to feel everyone step up and be there for everyone.”
“We worked hard, we worked together, and we leaned on each other,” said Leah Khuu, who led Hamburg (15-8) with 12 points and received game MVP honors.
In the B-2 final, Dolan shook off a slow start to score 25 of her 31 points in the second half, leading Williamsville South to a 58-44 win against Starpoint for its ninth sectional title in 10 seasons.
Dolan, an Illinois recruit, broke the Section VI single season scoring record with 782 points through 20 games, and enters Wednesday night’s crossover game with a chance to become the seventh player in NYSPHSAA history to surpass 800 points in a season.
“I don’t think I hit an outside shot in the first half,” Dolan said. “It was a little frustrating, but you’re going to have days like that where they just don’t fall. I’ve been in that position, so I just knew I had to be a little more aggressive coming out in the second half.”
Kimora Berry added 11 points for South, while Dolan augmented her scoring with eight rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots.
“It feels great just doing it with these girls, how much time we spent together and the work we put in,” Dolan said. “We set these goals in the beginning of the season so it feels good, but there’s still work to be done.”
Williamsville South has state championship aspirations, but won’t look past Hamburg on its mission.
“Hamburg is a good team,” Dolan said. “We’ve had our battles with them, so it’s going to be a good game.”
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Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.