At some point in the week between their two meetings, the Solvay boys basketball team tried to convince itself that it could keep up with Westhill, an important thing to believe in since the latter of these two contests would be a Section III Class B-1 quarterfinal.
All that belief would get punctured in a hurry, though, as the Warriors backed up its no. 1 seed by taking out the no. 8 seed Bearcats 78-39 Friday night, completing a perfect 8-0 home mark this winter.
Westhill will battle no. 4 seed Skaneateles in the Class B-1 semifinals this weekend, with the winner going to Manley Field House March 6 to face Marcellus or Bishop Grimes with the B-1 title on the line.
These same two teams had met on Feb. 13, with Westhill prevailing 65-41. The stakes were much higher in the rematch, which likely explained the way the Warriors aimed to settle matters early.
Unleashing its potent man-to-man defense, Westhill nearly blanked Solvay in that first quarter, roaring out to a 21-4 lead. Everyone got involved on the offensive side, too, as the margin built to 43-13 by halftime and would remain lopsided the rest of the way.
If head coach Kevin King could have drawn up a balanced offense, it likely would resemble the actual numbers on this night.
Dan Ross led with just 12 points, but Mike McMullen and Dan Karleski each threw in 11 points, while Tom Fisher worked inside for 10 points. Nate Nigolian chimed in with nine points as Mark McAnaney (eight points) and Cory Hewitt (six points) both made major contributions off the bench.
For the Bearcats, whose season ended with a 6-16 mark, Andrew Lucio finished with 16 points, while R.J. Lostumbo had 10 points. Just six different players scored on Solvay's side, a stark contrast to the depth and variety on Westhill's roster.