Anyone, outside the inner circle of players and coaches, that expected the West Genesee boys basketball team to beat Liverpool last Tuesday night had to be crazy.
After all, the Wildcats were 2-8, spinning toward the cellar of the CNY Counties League, while the Warriors were 7-3, breezing toward another post-season appearance behind high-scoring senior forward Jesse Gates.
For one game, though, the crazy turned into downright normal.
WG played its best defense of the entire season in the first half, built a big early lead, then held on quite easily to put together a 66-55 win in front of a stunned -- but elated -- home crowd in Camillus.
Everything that had gone wrong for 10 games turned around in the first half against Liverpool. A balanced, well-coordinated WG attack produced baskets on a regular basis -- but more importantly, the defense proved suffocating, holding Liverpool to a handful of field goals.
All told, it meant a 35-18 halftime lead, and though Gates had 21 points and would lead a strong second-half effort, the Wildcats stayed calm and in control, using solid offensive work to complete the task.
In contrast to Gates, WG had four players score in double figures. Nick Wood had 14 points, while Eric Spencer gained 13 points. Colin Monroe chipped in with 11 points as Tyler Carr got 10 points. Not far behind them, Brian Burns earned seven points and Greg Wadach contributed six points.
Now the trick was to see if the Wildcats could do it again in Friday's home game against red-hot Henninger.
But WG could not pull it off again, losing to the Black Knights 57-45. Hanging close, the Wildcats, down 27-21 at halftime, pulled within 38-35 before the fourth quarter started, but strong free-throw shooting allowed Henninger to get clear.
Spencer still finished with 18 points to lead both sides, but no one else hit double figures as Monroe had nine points and Burns got six points.