Warriors rally past Mexico in hoops opener

Everyone back for the Westhill boys basketball team in 2008-09 remembers how last season ended ---and don't want a repeat.

The Warriors led Bishop Grimes by 12 in the fourth quarter of last February's Section III Class B-1 final, only to see the Cobras make a stunning 21-1 run to pull out a 63-55 win, a bitter end to what was otherwise a terrific 17-6 campaign.

Eight seniors graduated, but a young core of talent, including Dan Ross, Tom Fisher, Nate Nigolian and Mike McMullen, have returned to try and get the Warriors a second sectional title in four years.

Immediately, Westhill got into big trouble in last Tuesday's opener at Mexico -- but a furious fourth-quarter comeback produced a 47-43 win over the Tigers.

With little offensive rhythm in the first half, the Warriors quickly fell behind, and only its strong defense kept Mexico in sight as Westhill went to halftime trailing, 19-14.

By the final period, the deficit was 38-28, and at that point the Warriors might have remembered what happened to them against Grimes a season ago.

If so, the memory triggered a fierce reaction. Applying lots of defensive pressure and forcing a string of turnovers, Westhill dominated the fourth quarter, going on a 19-5 run to close the game and earn a satisfying win on the road against a Class A opponent.

Ross, with 14 points, led the Warriors on the offensive side. McMullin earned seven points, while Fisher and Nigolian got six points apiece Mexico's Shaughn Perkins led both sides with 17 points.

On Tuesday, the Warriors begin OHSL Liberty division play at Skaneateles before heading to a weekend tournament at Sherburne-Earlville.

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