Batavia girls advance to Section 5 Class B1 championship game with 44-32 win over Pal-Mac
Emma Krolczyk goes up for a layup.
Jenae Colkey (34) and Mackenzie Reigle attempt to stop Pal-Mac's Sophie Lyko.
Ryann Stefaniak looks to drive to the hoop.
A steal by Reigle leads to a Batavia basket.
Bryn Wormley controls the loose ball.
Part of the large contingent of Batavia fans react to the victory.
Finding themselves up by only two points with about five minutes to play, the top-seeded Batavia High Lady Blue Devils were in need of a spark, something to put some distance between them and the No. 4 Palmyra-Macedon Lady Red Raiders in their Section 5 Class B1 semifinal girls’ basketball game tonight at Caledonia-Mumford High.
Pal-Mac, a decided underdog, had jumped out to a seven-point quarter lead and hung in there through three quarters as Batavia was unable to get its offense in gear.
But just when it looked as though Pal-Mac was about to tie the game, key plays by a trio of Lady Devils in a minute’s time resulted in a 7-0 spurt and propelled Batavia to a 44-32 victory.
The win puts Coach Marty Hein’s team in the championship game at 8 p.m. Friday at Cal-Mum against Midlakes, a 58-32 winner over Greece Odyssey in the first game of the doubleheader.
On a night when top scorer Ryann Stefaniak struggled from the field (4-for-11 including 0-for-5 from three-point territory), Emma Krolczyk and Mackenzie Reigle came through with 14 and 13 points, respectively, and Jenae Colkey led a stifling defense that allowed only 15 points over the final three quarters.
Colkey, a senior guard/forward who has to play inside on defense, came up with a remarkable defensive stop when she got in position in the lane to prevent a fast-break layup that would have tied the game. The missed shot eventually made its way to Krolczyk who drove to the hoop to make it 31-27 – a four-point swing.
Krolczyk then rebounded a Pal-Mac missed and kicked the ball out to Reigle, who sank Batavia’s first three-pointer of the game to make it 34-27 at the 3:52 mark. Following a Pal-Mac timeout, Reigle stole the ball and flew in for a layup to give the Lady Devils a 36-27 edge.
Another three-pointer, this one by Bryn Wormley, and pair of baskets by Stefaniak in the closing 1:30 sealed the win.
The decisive seven-point run came just after Stefaniak had been called for her fourth foul, sending her to the bench. The fact that her teammates picked her up should give Batavia a lot of confidence heading into Friday’s match against No. 2 Midlakes, 19-3.
Hein credited the defense for saving the day while lamenting the team’s offensive execution.
“In all the interviews that I have been giving, I have said I’m not worried about the offense, but I almost shot myself in the foot (with this game),” Hein said. “We were helter-skelter and impatient and didn’t move the ball very well. Hopefully, we will put the pieces together on Friday.”
He called Reigle (she also had five steals and three rebounds) a “huge sparkplug” and praised Colkey, one of three seniors on the team, for “taking on the leadership role tonight and settling the team down.”
Colkey had three assists, six rebounds and two steals to go with her two points, while Stefaniak, who was coming off a 35-point outburst in the quarterfinals, finished with 10 points – nine less than her average -- along with four rebounds and four steals.
Overall, Batavia was 18-for-50 from the field (36 percent) and just 2-for-10 on threes.
For Pal-Mac, senior forward Gretchen Earl was the top scorer with 12 points while junior guard Katie Smith sank a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter and finished with seven points.
Photos by Steve Ognibene. To view or purchase photos, click here.