Feb 02, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In a span of less than 48 hours, the Westhill girls basketball team went from undefeated to lodged in second place within its own league.
Bishop Ludden began this stunning turnaround, rallying in the fourth quarter Friday night to stun the Warriors 59-53 behind career-best efforts from Kristen Ryan and Natalie Barletta, among others.
Then Cazenovia staged its own big comeback on Sunday afternoon, rallying past Westhill 47-42 to seize first place in the OHSL Liberty division, largely on the work of two proven seniors, Kiley Evans and Kassie Kleine.
All of this commenced on Friday. Ludden had played Westhill close back on Dec. 30, so despite some recent uneven play, the young Gaelic Knights carried the belief that it could stay right with the 14-0 Warriors.
And for a while, the outcome looked to be the same. Carly Cooper worked her way to 21 points and Annie O’Connor added 17 points as the Warriors’ pair of star seniors helped their team work out of a 23-23 halftime tie to seize the lead in the third quarter.
At one point in the fourth quarter, Westhill led by as much as seven, and its defense was doing a sensational job containing Ludden’s most dangerous outside threat, Ashley Cianfriglia, holding her to just four points.
However, Ryan helped will her team back into it, earning a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Barletta also stepped up with a career-best 15 points to complement Michelle Roesch, who had another strong showing with 16 points.
And it was Roesch and Kayla Kibling, each stepping up with crucial 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, that helped push Ludden in front as it outscored Westhill 23-13 in that last frame.
Having absorbed this defeat, Westhill now turned its attention to Cazenovia, where nearly the exact same thing happened.
Against the Lakers’ relentless defensive pressure, Westhill did enough to gain a 32-22 lead early in the third quarter, and were still ahead 39-32 with less than five minutes left. This came despite Cooper (11 points) not making a 3-pointer all afternoon while Kleine stayed locked on her. Valerie Golembiewski had 10 points, with O’Connor held to seven points.
Down the stretch, Evans took over, getting nine of her 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers closed the game on a 15-3 run. Kleine, who hadn’t scored to that point, broke a 40-40 tie with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:25 left, and Cazenovia never trailed again.
Solvay would bounce back from its loss to Westhill earlier in the week in a big way with back-to-back weekend victories.
First, the Bearcats beat Homer 53-37 on Friday, building a 34-13 halftime edge. Tessa Pucello would nearly match the Trojans’ entire production all by herself, finishing with 33 points on 10 field goals and 13 successful free throws. Liz Martinez also stepped up, earning 13 points.
A day later, against Hannibal, the Bearcats won 49-38, turning to defense as it held the Warriors to just a single free throw in the first quarter. Leading 21-7 at the half, the Bearcats saw most of the margin disappear in the third quarter, only to make the last surge.
Staying hot, Pucello put home 28 points, 12 of them from free throws, while Martinez continued to offer an alternative by gaining 16 points. Jamie Perry led Hannibal with 14 points.