Dec 02, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Each of the Westhill basketball teams would post season-opening wins over Jordan-Elbridge on Tuesday night.
In girls action, the Warriors had to work hard to beat the Eagles 43-32, while the Westhill boys, defending its Section III Class B-1 title, beat J-E 63-33.
Six long years have passed since the Westhill girls has basked in the collective glow of earning a sectional title.
For much of that period, South Jefferson kept the Warriors from the top spot — but in 2008-09, it was Cazenovia serving as the roadblock, accounting for three of Westhill’s four defeats, including a 41-30 decision in the Class B-1 semifinals.
Now, with six seniors gone (including stars like Carly Cooper, Annie O’Connor, Sam Marshall and Valerie Golembiewski), head coach Sue Ludwig hopes a new starting lineup will get the Warriors back to the top.
J-E, 10-11 a season ago, also saw six seniors depart, including Kate Dungey, Sarah Fordyce and Aimee Briggs.
But with senior Liz Caspari and sophomore Molly Hourigan leading the cast of returnees, the Eagles had an upset in mind against Westhill, beating the Warriors’ pressure and racing out to a 14-9 first-quarter advantage.
Just as quickly, though, J-E went cold, and Westhill took full advantage, outscoring the Eagles 25-9 over the course of the next two periods to assume control.
Emily Haggerty, Westhill’s lone returning starter, led her side with 16 points, while eighth-grade newcomer Anna Ross had a strong varsity debut with 12 points. Kathryn Christensen added six points. J-E, in defeat, saw Caspari earn 12 points and Hourigan add nine points.
As holders of the Section III Class B-1 crown, the Westhill boys team is set on doing the same thing — at least — in 2009-10.
Just one senior — Mike Mascari — is gone. Everyone else from that 20-4 squad is back, including Dan Ross, Nathan Nigolian, Tom Fisher, Mike McMullen, Dan Karleski and J.T. Alcaro, a formidable rotation on both sides of the ball.
Above everything else, Westhill loves to play defense — and the team’s calling card was on display once more against J-E.
The Eagles, again playing an independent slate this winter, actually held a 7-6 lead through one period. Reality hit, though, in the second quarter as Westhill proceeded to outscore J-E 41-15 over the course of the next two periods.
Twelve of the Warriors’ 13 players got at least two points. McMullen led the charge, with 14 points, as Nigolian got 11 points and Ross earned eight points. For J-E, Tom Graf had 11 points, while Brendan Barrigar put up eight points.