Strive for five: Lancers win 5th-straight Class D2 championship with 66-27 victory over Avoca/Pratts
ELBA, N.Y. --- For many teams, the thrill of a Sectional championship does not come around very often. In Section V, the competition is fierce as it is rare for teams to repeat at any class. But on Saturday afternoon, the Elba Lancers changed that narrative, winning their fifth-straight Class D2 championship in a 66-27 victory over Avoca/Prattsburgh.
One of the ways the Lancers have won these championships has been their ability to get ahead early. And they worked it to perfection on Saturday, outscoring the Vikings 20-6 in the first quarter.
But even after securing the big lead, senior Brynn Walczak said postgame that they were not going to let up.
"[Coach Redband] told us to keep boxing out and to not let up. [Avoca/Prattsburgh] still wanted it as much as we did, and we knew what we had to do," Walczak said.
After the simmering 20-point performance in the first quarter, the Lancers cooled down with twelve points in the second. But the constricting 2-3 zone of the Lancers gave Avoca/Prattsburgh fits, as they went 2-9 from the field in the second quarter.
While the Lancers held a 32-12 lead at halftime, there was a sense that the Vikings would make a comeback. But Elba slammed the door shut in the third, going on a 17-0 run to start the second half. Thirteen of those points came from Walczak.
With a 53-14 lead after the third, Elba head coach Tom Redband started to cycle in his bench. But with five seconds left on the clock, he put his starting five back in for one final time. And as the buzzer sounded, the emotions began to rain out.
Senior Taylor Augello, who has been on four of five championship teams, was at a loss for words.
"I cannot put it into words right now. But I know that it is something special that has not been done here or in the Genesee Region," Augello said.
Much of Elba's success comes from their core team. Four of their starting five (Augello, Maddie Muehlig, Leah Bezon, and Walczak) have played with each other since third grade. But while their season and careers are over, Walczak knows the connection will never go away.
"We are still going to be friends after high school. And I think it will carry on for a long time, as people will know our legacy and history for years to come," Walczak said.
Elba's unofficial leading scorers were Walczak with 22 points and Augello with 17.
Looking at the team overall, the Lancers have become a special team to watch. Saturday's win makes in 24-straight victories for Elba dating back to last season, and three of their starters (Bezon, Muehlig, and Walczak) walk off into the sunset with over 1000 points and five sectional championships in their hands.
But while her high school career may be over, Walczak says she hopes to continue with basketball in some capacity.
"I have not decided if I'm going to play basketball or not in college. I have a couple of offers but I have not made my decision yet, but we will see," Walczak said.