Dec 18, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Sure, the Solvay girls basketball team is quite pleased that it sits with a 6-0 record and owns the early lead in the OHSL Liberty division.
But what gives the Bearcats even greater satisfaction is to know that, at long last, it can claim some bragging rights over its more famous neighbors at Westhill.
For the first time in the program’s history, Solvay knocked off Westhill, a 62-48 decision last Friday night. Better yet, it did so on the Warriors’ home court.
So many times before, Solvay had played Westhill, only to get turned away. More often than not, those were one-sided affairs, too, as the Warriors have earned league titles each of the last 14 years.
Yet in this season where the Warriors have gone through all kinds of trouble, the Bearcats felt no sympathy and took full advantage of Westhill’s biggest issue — namely, the lack of a proven inside player.
Playing at a fast pace, the two sides went through an entertaining first half. Solvay would battle its way in front, 31-25, and the margin would remain steady in the third quarter.
Down the stretch, the Bearcats would pull away, and freshman forward Tessa Pucello was largely responsible. Pucello had her way in the paint, setting a new career mark with 25 points as Westhill could do little to stop her.
Surrounding Pucello, Solvay was quite balanced on the perimeter. Chelsey Chavez-Egan put up 12 points, while Erica Griffo added nine points and Kelly Kaltenbach got eight points.
All the while, Solvay’s defense honed in on Carly Cooper, holding her to just four points, something Westhill could not overcome even though Annie O’Connor earned 17 points and got help from Samantha Marshall (12 points) and Valerie Golembiewski (nine points).
Solvay went in with lots of momentum, thanks to last Tuesday night’s hard-fought game against Cazenovia where the Bearcats mostly relied on its free-throw shooting to withstand a late Lakers rally and prevail, 57-52.
After a sluggish start from both sides, the Bearcats took charge in the second quarter, outscoring Cazenovia 16-4 to seize a 23-13 advantage.
But led by junior star Kiley Evans, who finished with a game-high 23 points, the Lakers roared back and caught up by the final minutes, requiring Solvay to make a steady parade to the foul line in order to prevail.
Pucello, beginning a memorable week, hit most of those late foul shots, and 10 in all on her way to 18 points. Kaltenbach relied even more on her charity-stripe work, getting 10 of her 13 points there.
Just as importantly, Liz Martinez earned 10 points, as her work, combined with that of Pucello and Kaltenbach, helped take pressure off Chavez-Egan, who had six points. Aside from Evans, Carrie Stevens (10 points) and Molly Dougherty (nine points) were the main Cazenovia threats.
The Bearcats take on Skaneateles and Hannibal this week, a prelude to next week’s holiday trip to the Disney World sports complex in Florida for a three-game tournament against teams from across the nation.