Westhill boys pull away from Skaneateles

The Westhill boys basketball team has inched closer to making Friday's regular-season finale with Bishop Grimes a showdown for the OHSL Liberty division regular-season championship.

And by beating Skaneateles 66-51 Monday night, the Warriors (14-2) also gained some sweet payback for its one of its few stumbles.

Back on Dec. 16, Westhill was up by seven in the fourth quarter on Skaneateles, only to squander that margin and lose to the Lakers 48-44.

Nearly two months later, the rematch in Skaneateles, on Senior Night for the Laker duo of Tom Schoener and Kyle McQuiggan, had a far different tone.

For one thing, Westhill's offense was close to flawless in the first half. Trailing 9-5, it took the lead for good with an 11-0 spurt, six of the points coming from Dan Ross.

At one point in the second period, the Warriors led by as much as 11, 31-20, but the Lakers fought back within 37-33 by halftime, the game close despite the fact that Ross, Dan Karleski and Nathan Nigolian each had 10 points.

But the Lakers had a big problem. Junior forward Pat Roberts, the team's leading scorer in recent events, got three quick fouls, spent much of the rest of the game on the bench and never was a serious factor, finishing with just six points.

Westhill wasn't clear, though, as it still had to patch up its normally stingy defense if it wanted to fully exploit Roberts' long absences.

That got done in the third quarter, as Skaneateles managed just two field goals. Then the Warriors went on another sustained run, a 13-3 push that went deep into the fourth quarter and settled matters.

Ross finished with 19 points, with Nigolian (15 points) and Karleski (14 points) close behind. Mike McMullen used a late push to get 13 points. Paul O'Donnell led Skaneateles with 19 points.

Westhill still needs to play Cazenovia Wednesday, and Bishop Grimes still has to face Phoenix, before the Friday clash.

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