Far from home, and in the face of a championship-caliber opponent, the Westhill boys basketball team did not blink one bit.
Instead, the Warriors gave defending Section III Class C champion West Canada Valley its first regular-season defeat since the 2006-07 season last Monday night, beating the Indians 65-53 in last Monday's opening round of the Dick White Tournament at Cooperstown.
What made the victory more impressive was the fact that, for a brief amount of time, it appeared that WCV had solved the riddle of Westhill's imposing defense.
Scoring at will in the first quarter, the Indians hit every conceivable shot and, by the end of the period, had a 23-15 edge. But it proved to be a false sense of security.
Westhill increased the defensive intensity and shut WCV down over the course of the next two periods. At the same time, the offense continued to sparkle, creating a situation where, in the second and third quarters, the Warriors outscored the Indians 39-18.
While Dan Ross led the way with 20 points, he was far from alone. Tom Fisher and Mike Mascari each had 11 points, with Fisher hitting on seven successful free throws and Mascari converting a trio of 3-point shots.
Offering the help, Mike McMullen stayed close to his season average with nine points, while Nate Nigolian earned eight points and Dan Karleski got six points.
Due to bad weather, Westhill never got a chance to face Clinton as last Tuesday night's championship game got postponed.
Unsure of a possible make-up, Westhill could turn its attention to a huge game on Tuesday against 9-0 Marcellus, the first of two regular-season battles with the Mustangs.