With a potent combination of talent and sheer willpower, Mike Stone made sure the Bishop Grimes boys basketball team notched its second big win in as many weeks.
In front of the home folks in East Syracuse Friday night, Stone saved his best work for the fourth quarter of Grimes' showdown with Westhill, as the sophomore star led the Cobras past the Warriors by a score of 60-55.
Entering the fourth quarter, Grimes and Westhill were tied 36-36. Already the Cobras had shown just how much it had improved since its Dec. 16 loss at Onondaga Hill, leading much of the game while unable to shake off the Warriors or build any kind of margin.
Sensing all this, Stone, who started hot (seven points in the first quarter) but then cooled off in the game's middle stages, emerged again to sink Westhill's chances.
His charge began by sinking the tail end of back-to-back 3-pointers (Zach Vaught had the other) to put Grimes ahead 44-39. Two minutes later, with the margin down to 44-42, Stone hit again from beyond the arc to build the lead back to five, then added a driving lay-up.
The real capper came with 1:40 left. Westhill was within three, 49-46, and had the ball when Stone executed a steal at the top of the key, drove to the other end, hit a lay-up and was fouled. The ensuing free throw made it 52-46.
Three more free throws in the last minute helped fend off a furious Westhill rally. Overall, Stone had 14 points in the game's last 6 1/2 minutes and 27 points overall. Meanwhile, Joe Basla, whose triple-double keyed the Jan. 23 win at Marcellus, stayed hot with 15 points, while Antron Irby had seven points.
Westhill's own star, Dan Ross, got 16 of his 18 points in the second half, while Mike McMullen added 12 points and Tom Fisher got nine points.