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Westhill girls stun Ludden, 53-51

So the whole plan was for the Bishop Ludden girls basketball team to handle its business against 2-7 Westhill last Saturday afternoon, then focus its attention to Monday night's first-place OHSL Liberty division showdown with Cazenovia.

Instead, the Warriors produced one of the season's biggest surprises -- and kept the Gaelic Knights winless in this neighborhood rivalry.

Building a big lead, then hanging on at the end, Westhill reminded all in attendance about its glory days and shocked Ludden 53-51, ending the Gaelic Knights' seven-game win streak in the process.

Perhaps rust had something to do with it. Ludden had not played in nine days, since its 54-40 win over Solvay on Jan. 3, while Westhill had gone through a regular schedule. Plus, the social spectacle of the Ludden-CBA boys "Holy War" of the night before had drawn some attention, too.

Still, when they took the court on Saturday, Westhill was supposed to step aside -- a script with which it did not cooperate in any way.

All through the first half, whenever Ludden did something, the Warriors matched it, and the visitors slowly gained confidence that it could hang right with the heavily favored hosts.

By halftime, Westhill led, 27-25, and it only got better in the third quarter as it broke through Ludden's defense on several occasions and built the margin to 42-35.

Finally alert to the danger of the moment, Ludden staged a furious comeback in the final period, making up the deficit and forcing the game to the wire.

In the end, the difference was Carly Cooper coolly sinking a pair of free throws with six seconds left that made up the winning margin.

Overall, Cooper had 19 points, but didn't need to carry too much of the offensive load as Annie O'Connor earned 12 points, Valerie Golembiewski got eight points and Callie Best earned six points.

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