Dec 06, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Six long years have passed since the Westhill girls basketball team has basked in the collective glow of earning a Section III championship.
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.
The Warriors’ opening-week action featured two OHSL Liberty division neighbors, starting with last Tuesday’s trip to Jordan-Elbridge and a hard-fought 43-32 win over the Eagles.
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.
Now Westhill turned its attention to Friday’s game against Marcellus, coming off its own strong ’08-09 season where it went 13-8 before falling to the Warriors in the B-1 quarterfinals.
Again, it proved tough — but again, Westhill prevailed, taking out the Mustangs 46-38.
It was a game in complete doubt through the first three periods. Both sides played first-rate defense, and it was 33-32 going into the final quarter — when Westhill’s pressure led to Mustang mistakes.
Haggerty led with 19 points, sinking five 3-pointers to account for most of it, while Ross got seven of her 14 points at the free-throw line. Christensen added eight points. For Marcellus, forward Melissa Lee had 10 points, with Megan Tock adding seven points.
As this went on, J-E found the win column for the first time this season, going to Hannibal and bashing the Warriors 65-39.
Outscoring Hannibal in each period, the Eagles roared out to an 18-8 edge by the end of the first quarter and never got caught, gradually inflicting its will on the Warriors.
Caspari, with 14 points, led a well-balanced attack. Natalie Andrianos had 11 points, while Hourigan got 10 points. Kali Davis and Amanda Wheeler each had nine points.
J-E plays just once this week, hosting defending Class B champion Cazenovia on Wednesday. Westhill, meanwhile, takes its own shot at Phoenix and also plays Solvay.