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S-GI girls end losing skid on Wounded Warrior night

A BORN LEADER — Heaven Rolleck leads her team onto the court, during the Wounded Warrior game at Springville-Griffith Institute. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — Sporting camouflage uniforms and playing for more than just themselves, the Springville-Griffith Institute girls varsity basketball team delivered a 52-41 win over Amherst in the Wounded Warrior Project fundraiser game.

Springville took on Mount Mercy in the second annual Wounded Warrior game back on Jan. 25 and upon being invited, the team had the idea to host an event for that charity in their home gym, as well.

Springville senior basketball player Tainne Dallas spearheaded the day, collaborating with members of the Wounded Warrior Project and members of the Springville American Legion to organize the night’s festivities.

“She heard about it and it kind of touched a sentiment with her and her family,” said Springville coach Chris Mathewson, of Dallas. “She just took the ball and ran with it. Everything that was done, she organized. I basically just put in the building-use form so we could have the equipment. She did a great job; it was a great event.”

Dallas attended Empire Girls State over the summer, a program that promotes responsible citizenship.

“We talked a lot of helping our veterans,” said Dallas. “I thought this was the perfect way to do it. I decided to put on this event and I thought it was a big hit.”

Springville raised nearly $2,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

With the win, the Springville ladies snapped a four-game losing streak. Tia Woodarek hit a pair at the foul line, to give Springville an 18-16 lead, midway through the second quarter, after Amherst had been in front, for most of the first half. Woodarek finished a layup in transition, late in the frame, to give the Lady Griffs a 24-19 lead at the half.

Springville didn’t trail the entire second half, but Amherst stayed within single digits, with the help of Claire Wanzer, who scored 10 of her team-high 13 points in the second half.

Springville was able to finish in crunch time, highlighted by a 3-pointer by Dallas, with two minutes left in the game, that gave the Lady Griffs a 45-37 lead, the team’s largest lead of the game, at that point. Springville would coast from there, for an 11-point win. The last four losses have come despite Springville owning second-half leads in those defeats.

Mathewson said he was happy with his team’s ability to finish against Amherst.

“Finishing is sometimes just possession-by-possession, grind it out,” said Mathewson. “You’re not always going to get the score, but you just have to keep your head up. Other teams are going to make a run at you and you have to respond. It was back-and-forth, a little bit, and when [Tainne] hit that 3, it kind of settled down and we maintained the lead from there.”

Springville improved to 8-8 overall and 6-7 in league play. The ladies have propelled themselves into third place in their division, with the win.

“It was great; it was finally a game where we all came together and worked hard,” said Dallas of the win.

“We really used all of our strengths to our best advantage to get the win. With this being a big game for us, that was even better.”

Woodarek had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Springville. Dallas had 10 points; Heaven Rollek had 7, eight rebounds and four assists.

Springville defeated St. Mary’s 50-27 in a nonleague contest on Feb. 11. Woodarek once again led Springville in scoring, with 23 points. She has been averaging 19.6 points per game, in her last five outings.

Springville hosted Pioneer on Feb. 13, in the team’s last regular season game. With a win, the Lady Griffs can jump to second in Erie County Interscholastic Conference III.

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