To get a chance at the Section III Class B-1 championship, the Cazenovia girls basketball team would have to conquer Westhill for a third time in the span of a month.
Yet while the venue (neutral) and the stakes (much higher) changed, the result was exactly the same -- the Lakers on top, this time by a score of 41-30 in last Friday night's B-1 semifinal at Jamesville-DeWitt.
This earned Cazenovia a chance to come back to J-D Tuesday night and play South Jefferson for the Class B-1 championship. The winner on Tuesday would face Canastota or Clinton in the overall Class B final Saturday at Utica-Auditorium
Each of the Westhill games assumed its own unique character. The first one, on Feb. 1 at the Warriors' home gym, involved a rally from a 10-point third-quarter deficit for a 47-42 win that pushed Cazenovia into first place in the OHSL Liberty division. A mere 12 days later, at Buckley Gym, the Lakers romped through Westhill 53-34 to clinch the outright league title.
Now came the third clash, which featured a mix of the first two themes with a heavy emphasis on both the talents of Kiley Evans and the overall ferocious nature of Cazenovia's defense.
What was a tight contest started to break open when the Lakers held the Warriors to just four points in the second quarter, increasing its lead to 19-13 in the process.
Throughout the third period, Westhill hung in there, pushed ahead by Annie O'Connor, who worked her way inside for 15 points to lead the Warrior attack.
Every time a big basket was needed down the stretch, though, Evans provided it, the senior earning 20 points, nearly half her team's output. Ashley Stec and Ellen Burr each had six points, with Kassie Kleine adding five points.