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Westhill, Ludden girls win, meet Friday

As it all worked out, two next-door neighbors, Westhill and Bishop Ludden, will settle the OHSL Liberty division girls basketball regular-season championship between them Friday night in Geddes.

The Warriors, 13-2 in league play (15-2 overall) are trying to win it outright, while the Gaelic Knights. at 12-3 (13-4 overall), want a share of the title.

Back on Wednesday, Westhill clinched at least a tie for the title by finally breaking the two-season, four-game hex Cazenovia put on them by beating the Lakers 59-51.

The Lakers won three head-to-head-meetings with the Warriors in 2008-09 on its way to the Section III Class B title, then prevailed again 48-46 at Buckley Gym on Jan. 6. But it brought just a seven-player roster to Westhill for the rematch, and that would prove important.

It was Senior Night for Emily Haggerty, Kathryn Christensen, Kayla Stirpe and Fiona Stack, and together they blanked Cazenovia in the game's first five minutes as Westhill raced out to a 12-4 lead.

The Lakers fought back, though, catching up in the second quarter and even taking the lead twice during the third period. But when its two leading scorers, Ashley Stec and Ellen Burr, got into serious foul trouble, Westhill got more aggressive -- and it led to a 21-4 run down the stretch that proved decisive.

Haggerty really stood out, with 16 of her 22 points coming in the second half as she connected on four 3-pointers. Christensen and Ross provided the support, with 11 points apiece, while Stirpe earned seven points and Gwen Dougherty got six points. Stec had 21 points before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.

As this went on, Ludden kept its league title hopes alive by going to Phoenix and putting together a 57-45 victory over the Firebirds.

The Gaelic Knights' defensive pressure throughout the first half allowed it to take control, working its way to a 29-18 lead. Though it evened out in the second half, Ludden did a solid job of protecting its margin against all of Phoenix's charges.

With Phoenix ganging up on Ashley Cianfriglia (she had just nine points), Bella Knapp flourished, hitting on four 3-pointers and finishing with 21 points overall. Kayla Kibling matched Cianfriglia with nine points of her own, while Natalie Barletta earned eight points.

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