Westhill basketball sweeps Solvay

When the Westhill boys basketball team lost its weather-delayed season opener to Skaneateles by 26, every Warrior partisan had to openly wonder how long it would take for a brand-new lineup to start clicking and turn things around.

Perhaps just four days - as the clich about dramatic improvement from a team's first game to its second game played itself out in a big way Tuesday night as Westhill went to Solvay and pulled away from the Bearcats in a 69-40 romp.

Judging by the numbers, Westhill's exact moment of discovery came in the second quarter. Trailing 9-7, the Warriors unleashed its trademark defense, which finally led to baskets on the other end and an 18-5 spurt.

Solvay hung close for a while, but Westhill outscored them 29-10 in the final period, its confidence growing with each minute.

On the offensive side, the Warriors depended less on Nathan Nigolian, who still finished with 11 points. Justin Biles led with 15 points, while Mark McAnaney and P.J. Gephardt both stepped up with 14 points apiece. Solvay star Dan Aiello had just 10 points as Deon Knighton-Kearse led the Bearcats with 16 points.

None of those early concerns could be found on the girls side for Westhill - at least not with the duo of Ashley Cianfriglia and Anna Ross lighting up the opposition.

These Warriors handled Solvay 61-36 in many different ways, starting with a defense that bottled up the Bearcats, holding them to just 11 points in the first half.

Westhill used an 18-4 domination of the second quarter to take over. Cianfriglia did half the work, pouring in 26 points that included a trio of 3-pointers, while Ross followed up her 32-point effort against Skaneateles by getting 22 points on this occasion.

Solvay, playing without Abbey Jones in the lineup, saw Tessa Pucello lead the way with 11 points, while Chelsea Root added eight points and Tiffney Guinta got six points.

As the Solvay teams rest during the holiday break, Westhill's boys return to defend its title at Christian Brothers Academy's Bottar-Leone Holiday Classic next Wednesday and Thursday, meeting Buffalo-area power St. Joseph's in the first round.

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