AMHERST — Kamryn Dziak wasn’t content with flowers and balloons for Senior Day. Instead she went home with a game ball and another page in the school record book.
Dziak scored her 1,000th career point on a 3-pointer early in the second quarter of Saturday’s Southwestern Conference game against Avon Lake. By the time the game was over, Dziak scored a game-high 25 points, made five 3-pointers to extend her school record to 74 (career) and moved up to fourth on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,009 points.
The only thing Dziak didn’t do was get a victory, as the undermanned Comets, who were missing two starters with injuries, fell victim to a furious second-half rally in a the Shoregals’ 63-44 win.
The game was stopped momentarily after she scored her 1,000th point that gave the Comets a 19-14 lead so Dziak could be presented with the ball at half court.
“This was a very special day,” Dziak said. “My whole team was so excited for me and working to get this for me. They are so awesome, and it was so great so have it happen on Senior Day. That made it even more awesome.”
Avon Lake was led by senior Allie Heschel, who scored a team-high 16 points. Heschel scored 11 in the third quarter as the Shoregals ended the period on a 17-4 run to turn what was a tie game into a rout.
Avon Lake heads to the postseason with a 19-3 record, 15-3 in the SWC, while Amherst ended the regular season 13-9, 11-7 in the conference.
Avon Lake played like a team ready for the tournament, only turning the ball over four times, shooting 71 percent from the free throw line and forcing 23 turnovers.
“It’s good to end the season on a positive note heading into the tournament,” Avon Lake coach Dave Zvara said. “I feel like we’re really where we need to be right now. I was complaining that we had almost two weeks off until the tournament starts, but now that that break is here, it’s kinda nice.”
Shoregals senior Amber Achladis, who finished with eight points, thinks the 12-day break prior to a Division I sectional final could be beneficial.
“We put so much effort into the season, it’s nice to finish on a strong note with a win and have it show that we were one of the powerhouses in the conference this year,” she said. “We’re ready for the tournament. It’s been nice to play well against some of the better-seeded teams in our bracket.
“It’s really nice to earn a bye in the first round and get the extra rest. All of our bodies are worn down after playing multiple games a week for the entire season so the rest days are really gonna help us.”
For the second time in the last three games, Elizabeth Murdock was in double figures for Avon Lake.
Despite having Faith Lewis and Amaya Staton confined to the bench, Amherst led for all but two minutes of the first half. The Comets were so short-handed they only played six players for most of the game.
“Avon Lake has an excellent press and excellent defenders and we held our own for a while but eventually we ran out of gas and they took advantage of it,” Amherst coach Jay Valadez said. “I was not upset with anything we did today. My girls showed me a lot. They were able to hang with one of the top teams in the SWC for two-and-a-half quarters.”
Valadez is looking forward to seeing more big things from Dziak as the Comets head into the postseason.
“Kam is a special kid,” he said. “I can’t even imagine scoring your 1,000th point on Senior Night, on your home court in from of your friends and family. I’m just so happy for her. Kam is our leader. I reminded her she’s a Division I player, she’s a 1,000 point scorer and record breaking 3-pointer shooter. ‘I need you to lead this team and we will follow.’ She said she’s up to the challenge.”
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