Getting off to a quick start in the 2010-11 season, the West Genesee boys basketball team swept through its season-opening tournament in Sayre, Pa. (near Scranton), looking to improve upon last season's 5-13 mark.
The Wildcats have a new head coach - Fred Kent, who succeeded Steve Dunham. Kent previously coached at Fulton, and his first game experienced proved a positive one.
First, the Wildcats defeated LaSalle 60-36 on Friday night, overcoming a slow start. WG trailed, 11-7, going into the second quarter, having struggled to find rhythm after missing practice most of the week due to winter weather.
But the Wildcats found its offense in the second quarter, outscoring LaSalle 24-7 to move ahead for good, and after an evenly played third quarter WG's defense secured the outcome, holding LaSalle to three points in the last period.
Phil Allen led WG with 20 points, with Eric Spencer close behind as he got 15 points. Brian Burns worked his way to nine points and Shaiquan Baggett finished with six points.
A day later, in the finals against Frederick Douglass, the Wildcats had a closer call, but still won by a 61-51 margin. From a 14-14 tie, WG inched out in front in the next two periods, then outscored Douglass 19-14 in the final period to wrap it up.
Eric Spencer, quiet in the opener, stepped out here, his 24 points including seven field goals and 10 successful free throws. Allen picked up seven points with Baggett, Patrick Patnode and Matt Naton gaining six points apiece.
As this went on, West Genesee's girls basketball team was playing much closer to home, in Baldwinsville's Bill Middleton Tip-Off Tournament, and came close to earning the championship before falling to the host Bees 42-38 in the championship game.
Having barely missed the playoffs a season ago with a 7-11 mark, WG needed a quick start - and got exactly what it wanted in Friday's opening round against Henninger, easing to a 48-28 victory over the Black Knights.