If the West Genesee girls basketball team wanted a full measure of where it stood against the best local Class AA competition, it would get it when it ventured to Oswego last Saturday night as part of the annual "Hoops For Hope" event.
For long stretches of time, the Wildcats kept right up with the Buccaneers -- but it could not overcome a brutal start that ended up defining a 48-38 defeat.
Oswego, coming off a loss to Corcoran in last Tuesday's rematch of the 2008 Section III Class AA final, was bent on not taking another defeat, so it brought ferocious defense to the court right from the opening tip.
All the Wildcats managed in the first quarter was a single free throw. Meanwhile, Oswego hit on enough baskets to earn a comfortable 14-1 lead.
To its eternal credit, WG did not grow too discouraged, and spent the next three periods keeping up with the Buccaneers, making sure that the game did not get away.
Despite an inordinate amount of defensive attention, Alyssa Sutherland still put up 13 points. Lexie Myers had nine points, while Katie Kolinski stepped up for a season-best eight points and Deanna Apps earned six points.
WG's defense also did a solid job containing Oswego star Cari Reed, who had just 14 points. Brandi Earl (11 points), Lindsay Johnson and Brooke Reifinger (eight points each) offered the help in the Bucs' winning effort.
The Wildcats moved up its game with Utica Proctor 24 hours, playing last Monday night in Camillus -- and fighting hard to beat the Raiders 49-38.
Proctor, in fact, led through most of the first half, getting nine different players to hit field goals as it gained a 22-17 halftime edge.
But the Wildcats completely turned it around in the third quarter, shutting down Proctor and holding it to four points while going in front. As the pace quickened down the stretch, WG drew clear.
Once again, Sutherland had to carry the offensive load, pouring in 23 points. Apps and Erica LaComb each had six points in support. WG's defense kept Proctor star Brianna Kiesel in check, holding her to 12 points, well below her average.
Even though it lost to Oswego, WG will still have a 6-2 record when it goes to Maine-Endwell High School, near Binghamton, for the Pete Hyde Tournament on Saturday and Sunday.