As it roared out to four consecutive wins to open the season, the Westhill boys basketball team earned all the confidence it needed for its first encounter with two-time defending Section III Class B champion Hannibal.
Yet when the two Warrior powers collided last Tuesday night in Oswego County, Hannibal would still come out in front in a 65-55 decision.
To this point in the season, no one had consistently found a way to penetrate Westhill's air-tight defense.
But Hannibal, with four starters back from last year's title team, would do so, matching Westhill right through an 18-18 first quarter, and it remained tight the rest of the half as Hannibal inched into a 31-29 lead.
No matter what Westhill tried to do, it could not keep Hannibal senior guard Jeff LaMont from converting, as he spurred his team to build its lead in the third quarter, something the visitors could not answer.
All told, LaMont had 28 points, a new career mark that included three 3-pointers, seven other field goals and five successful free throws. He didn't work alone, either, as Brendan Nollet had 15 points, with Tyler Baker and Derrick Shoults adding 11 points apiece.
For its part, Dan Ross paced Westhill, earning 18 points, while Mike McMullen picked up 14 points and Nate Nigolian added 11 points.
Westhill looks to turn things around in a hurry Friday night, against Cazenovia. The rivalry between the schools has lost some color when Todd Widrick, the one-time Westhill coach, stepped down from the Cazenovia job, replaced by Steve Yarnell, whose team had struggled to an 0-3 start.