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Westhill girls beaten by Cazenovia again

So often in the past, any attack upon the Westhill girls basketball team's place atop the standings was met with a clear and forceful response.

But when the Warriors tried to avenge its Feb. 1 defeat to Cazenovia Friday night and grab a share of the OHSL Liberty division regular-season title, it could not prevent a Laker shooting rampage in the second quarter that led to a 53-34 loss.

A big part of that first game, when a 10-point Westhill lead got away as the Lakers rallied to win 47-42, was the fact that Carly Cooper did not make a single 3-pointer and had just 11 points overall.

The rematch in the tight quarters of Buckley Gym proved more frustrating. Defended hard by Laker guard Kassie Kleine, Cooper had just five points, something that teammates Annie O'Connor (12 points) and Valerie Golembiewski (nine points) could not fully make up for.

But the real damage came in that second period. A barrage of 3-pointers -- first by Kiley Evans, then by Kleine -- led to a 23-2 blitz that took away any chance Westhill had of winning. Evans finished with 21 points, with Ashley Stec (12 points) offering inside help.

To make sure that the Cazenovia game carried as much weight as possible, the Warriors first had to pass through the fulcrum of Senior Night, where it battled past Homer 61-32.

Despite a 3-15 record, Homer hung close in the first half, with Westhill needing a lot of time to shake off all the pregame festivities and focus on basketball again, especially without O'Connor in the lineup.

Only ahead by seven, 26-19, at the break, the Warriors started to pull away in the second half. Regaining her shooting touch for the moment, Cooper hit four 3-pointers and gained 25 points overall, her highest total in weeks.

Meanwhile, Golembiewski picked this night to set a new career mark with 18 points, as she assumed a larger offensive responsibility in O'Connor's absence. Sam Marshall added nine points.

Even with that defeat at Cazenovia, the Warriors still drew the no. 3 seed for the Section IIII Class B-1 playoffs. If it can get past a tricky quarterfinal with no. 6 seed Marcellus next Tuesday night, Westhill could get one more shot at Cazenovia (who is the no. 2 seed) in the semifinal round.

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