As they have in years past, the West Genesee and Bishop Ludden girls basketball team would each get early tests when they played in last weekend's Bill Middleton Tip-Off Tournament in Baldwinsville.
In fact, the Wildcats and Gaelic Knights squared off against each other in last Friday's opening round -- and WG would win, 64-59, using a furious fourth-quarter comeback as the centerpiece of a 3-0 opening-week effort.
With hot shooting in the first quarter, Ludden roared to a 20-10 lead, then maintained that double-digit margin throughout the next two periods, answering every time the Wildcats pushed to get closer.
But in the fourth quarter, Alyssa Sutherland seized control. Proving impossible to contain, WG's senior forward poured in baskets from everywhere, and that seemed to inspire the Wildcats' defense, too, as it clamped down amid a closing 23-3 run that produced victory.
By the time she was done, Sutherland had a career-best 31 points, with Allie Kotula, Erica LaComb and Lexie Myers adding eight points apiece.
Ludden had a bit more balance, though Ashley Cianfraglia led the way with 20 points. Michelle Roesch worked her way to 11 points, while Kayla Kibling got 10 points. Natalie Barletta (eight points) and Bella Knapp (seven points) also had solid showings.
Moving on to Saturday's championship game, West Genesee did not need any kind of rally against host Baldwinsville, taking out the Bees 49-37.
Already with a 16-8 lead, the Wildcats held the Bees to just two points in the second quarter, created a 25-10 halftime margin, and never got caught.
Sutherland cooled down a bit, but still had 17 points to garner tournament MVP honors. Katie Kolinski and Deanna Apps earned seven points apiece, with Carly DiCocco contributing six points. Lauren Brower (12 points) and Maggie Monnat (11 points) both led the B'ville effort.