With contributions from reliable and surprising sources, the West Genesee boys basketball team easily escaped the opening round of the Section III Class AA playoffs - but could go no further.
The no. 7 seed Wildcats outscored no. 10 seed Auburn in every quarter last Saturday and pulled away to a 70-52 victory over the Maroons.
After waiting out a week full of snow and lacking much practice time, WG was still primed to face an Auburn team it had beaten Jan. 30, also at home.
Clicking on offense all the way, WG steadily built a 31-21 halftime lead, then kept pulling further away from the Maroons by diversifying its attack.
Chris Cruz, as he has done all season, kept finding ways to get open, hitting four 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 21 points.
Brian O'Leary was a much bigger surprise. The senior, normally known for his defense, took full advantage of the attention given to fellow forward Jack Conboy and poured in a season-high 19 points. Conboy still had nine points, while Kevin Wadach threw in 10 points.
Auburn, playing without leading scorer Dave Foltz, had no one that could match the production of Cruz or O'Leary. Ryan Gleason had 14 points, while Travis McLeod had 11 points and Darnell Murphy added 10 points.
WG now tried to avenge a painful Jan. 19 loss to Henninger when it met the no. 2 seed Black Knights in Tuesday's AA quarterfinal.
It was close for three quarters - but Henninger dominated down the stretch with a 23-5 run and pulled away to eliminate the Wildcats, 58-36.
Cruz, with 15 points, was the lone Wildcat to reach double figures. David Simmons, whose steals and baskets in the last minutes keyed that earlier win over WG, had 21 points and 12 rebounds to help Henninger advance to a Class AA semifinal against Fayetteville-Manlius.