Dec 31, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
On her way to 1,000 career points, Westhill girls basketball Carly Cooper made her reputation by sinking a wide range of 3-point shots to crush the opposition.
Apparently, her teammates are picking up the habit.
By converting beyond the arc with scary regularity, the Warriors built a big early margin, then fought off a strong challenge from Bishop Ludden last Tuesday afternoon to win 70-59 and stay unbeaten, moving to 6-0 on the season.
Going in, the main difference was thought to be experience, since Westhill started four seniors and Ludden, off to a 4-1 start, did not have a single senior on its roster.
But the Gaelic Knights were not in any way intimidated in the Warriors’ presence. Michelle Roesch, in particular, had a superb game, earning 23 points to lead both sides and helping Ludden control the boards for long periods of time.
Meanwhile, the Warriors faced some adversity of its own. The lone junior starter, Emily Haggerty, left early with a hand injury, not to return, and Annie O’Connor, the team’s second-leading scorer, missed valuable minutes due to foul trouble and her own minor injury.
Despite all this, Westhill possessed a 50-29 lead at one point early in the third quarter. Much of that could be attributed to the Siena College-bound Cooper, who took over in the first half.
Hitting four 3-pointers along the way, Cooper got 20 of her 22 points before halftime. Haggerty also hit a pair of treys before going to the sidelines, and all those long-distance shots gave the Warriors a chance to pull far away.
Inevitably, though, Westhill cooled off, and Ludden fought back, going on a 17-3 run that covered much of the third quarter as Roesch kept making baskets and Kristen Ryan got all of her 11 points in the second half.
Try as it could, though, Ludden could never get closer than seven points, 53-46, as Westhill fought to gain back control behind O’Connor. As Cooper got smothered for most of the homestretch, O’Connor used her inside presence to build up 15 points, plus 11 rebounds, as fellow forward Valerie Golembiewski added 11 points.
Even though Westhill, at times, had trouble defending in the paint, it did a superb job on the perimeter, keeping Ashley Cianfriglia (nine points) from many open looks. Overall, Ludden had just two 3-pointers to Westhill’s eight, and that made the primary difference.
From here, the Gaelic Knights moved on to face Cazenovia next Tuesday, its first encounter with the Lakers since last year’s dramatic Class B-2 final, before hosting Skaneateles next Thursday. Westhill meets Marcellus and Homer during that period.