Should the West Genesee girls basketball team transform itself into a major Section III Class AA title contender, it could look back to its Dec. 5 loss to Rome Free Academy as a turning point.
In that 60-42 defeat, the Wildcats had, again, relied too much on Alyssa Sutherland, and it cost them. As head coach Jeff Ross had said before the season got underway, WG needed to find some more balance if it wanted to move up the ladder.
Six days after the RFA loss, the Wildcats were back at home and back on the court, and it worked out quite well as it beat Jamesville-DeWitt 54-43.
Steady throughout the first half, WG pulled in front of the Red Rams 25-17 as it went to the break. Then the defense took over, holding J-D to just three points in the third quarter to build a larger cushion.
Sutherland did lead the way again, with 16 points, but she had more help. Deanna Apps stepped up with 11 points, while Kelsey Myers gained 10 points. Erica LaComb and Allie Kotula each had six points. For J-D, Alyssa Gratien led the way with 12 points.
Two days earlier, the Red Rams went to East Syracuse-Minoa and delivered a 64-42 victory over the Spartans.
Eager to pick things up again following a 36-point loss to Oswego in the Dec. 6 final of the J-D Tip-off Tournament, the Rams had an 18-8 first-quarter edge on ESM and kept on doubling whatever the Spartans could manufacture.
Only in the fourth quarter, when J-D was up 53-28, did it settle down. Theresa Hernandez led the Rams with 15 points, while Jessica Kramer had 14 points.
Molly Maroney had eight points, just ahead of Micha Williams (seven points), Nicole Ortega and Liz Beville (six points apiece). For the Spartans, Arnela Mesic had 14 points, while Alex Cassella earned eight points and Carissa Ficarro picked up seven points.
After hosting Utica Proctor Tuesday night, the Wildcats get a big test on Saturday when it plays Oswego at the SUNY-Oswego campus arena.