Feb 27, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In what’s become an annual quest, the Westhill girls basketball team gets another chance at taking down the South Jefferson dynasty in the Section III Class B-1 championship game.
At Cicero-North Syracuse Tuesday night, the no. 2 seed Warriors attempt to dethrone the no. 1 seed and defending state champion Spartans, who had allowed just 16 points in each of its first two playoff wins, over Marcellus and Cazenovia.
Each of their recent post-season meetings have gone in South Jefferson’s favor – but in this version, Westhill have a new puzzle for the Spartans to solve.
That would be sophomore Carly Cooper, the Warriors’ leading scorer. Cooper had enjoyed some fine efforts all season, but nothing even close to what she pulled off in last Saturday’s 83-53 victory over no. 3 seed Watertown IHC in the B-1 semifinals at Jamesville-DeWitt.
By hitting 15 field goals (six of them 3-pointers) and converting nine successful free throws, Cooper finished with 45 points, a school record, breaking the old mark of 40 set by Sally Dee.
Right from the start, Westhill set a frantic pace on both ends, pressing on defense and forcing the Cavaliers into mistakes and turnovers — which led to open looks on the other side.
Cooper took full advantage. Whatever IHC tried, it couldn’t keep Cooper from firing shots and converting them. Her overwhelming ability helped Westhill build a 68-39 lead by the end of the third quarter.
Amid all this, Lisa Olszewski sneaked in 11 points and Kristen Diglio added seven points, just to prove it wasn’t a one-player show. In defeat, IHC’s Kaitlin Robbins had 17 points and Jessica Ille added 15 points.
Prior to Cooper’s record-setting turn against IHC, the Warriors, for the second year in a row, had to deal with rival Solvay in the B-1 tournament.
This time, that meeting came in the quarterfinals last Tuesday night, and Westhill rode Diglio’s red-hot shooting to a 57-41 elimination of the Bearcats.
Since they had met twice in the regular season, Westhill and Solvay knew each other well, and the Bearcats did not have a lot of trouble dealing with the Warriors’ vaunted pressure defense.
Despite this, Westhill quickly put Solvay in trouble, building a 17-6 edge by the end of the first quarter. That lead grew to 42-24 in the third period before Solvay could fully regroup.
All through the game, Diglio got open — and converted. She made five 3-pointers on her way to a career-best 24 points. Cooper wasn’t quiet, either, as she threw in 17 points, while Olszewski had a modest effort, earning eight points.
Meanwhile, Solvay leaned heavily on its star duo. Chelsey Chavez-Egan had 16 points, while Carrie Smith added 13 points. Eighth-grader Tessa Pucello had six points.
Westhill and South Jefferson play for the right to move on to Saturday’s overall Class B final against Clinton or Skaneateles, to be played at 3:30 at Onondaga Community College.