Westhill survives Clinton; Cooper passes milestone

As the road gets a bit rougher for the Westhill girls basketball team, it has, so far, answered the call -- while also taking care of a personal milestone along the way.

Finishing off its trip to the weather-altered Sherburne-Earlville Tournament last Saturday afternoon, the Warriors fought off unbeaten Clinton 56-54 to move to 4-0 on the season in what might turn out to be a playoff preview.

What Westhill proved in this game was that it didn't even need a big performance from its Siena College-bound senior, Carly Cooper, to beat a quality opponent, as her teammates stepped up in a big way.

Prior to that, though, Cooper had distinguished herself once more when, with her last basket of the team's win over Sherburne-Earlville on Dec. 13, she passed 1,000 career points, a number built over four-plus varsity campaigns.

A week later, Cooper would play a rare supporting role against Clinton, which showed how much the team had grown in a short amount of time this winter.

Up against a solid Clinton defense in this battle of Warrior teams, Westhill stayed patient throughout the first half and earned enough baskets to gain a 22-18 advantage as the two teams went to the break.

Having made proper adjustments, Westhill's offense proved sharp in the third quarter, taking the margin to 42-32. And every bit of that margin would be needed, as Clinton roared back and nearly caught up at game's end.

As Cooper finished with eight points, she wanted Annie O'Connor continue her hot start with 17 points, while Emily Haggerty and Valerie Golembiewski each gained 11 points. Sam Marshall added five points.

Clinton proved tough because it, too, possessed a well-balanced attack. Kati Griffiths finished with 17 points, with Lauren Conway (13 points) and Nicole Sook (12 points) close behind.

This set up the Warriors for a key battle atop the OHSL Liberty division next Tuesday, as it hosts Bishop Ludden.

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