Warriors blast Holland Patent, goes to Class B final

In two previous outings this season, the Westhill boys basketball team has emphatically defeated Bishop Grimes.

But the Warriors will have to beat the Cobras a third time if it wants to take the Section III Class B championship.

These fierce OHSL Liberty division rivals will clash Sunday at 3:45 at Utica Memorial Auditorium, this after a pair of contrasting semifinal games.

Westhill, the top seed, had little trouble disposing of no. 13 seed Holland Patent 69-45 Monday night at Chittenango High School.

The Warriors had benefited from the fact that the top half of the Class B tournament bracket blew open. Both the no. 4 and 5 seeds, South Jefferson and Mount Markham, lost in the first round.

Holland Patent took care of the Spartans 52-38, then needed overtime to eliminate Clinton in the quarterfinals. Its star player, Alex Smith, had 25 points, 15 of them in the fourth quarter and OT.

What the Golden Knights hoped was that a 10-day layoff (the game got moved from last Friday due to the big snowstorm) would render Westhill rusty enough to allow things to stay close.

But that wasn't the case. The Warriors took the lead for good midway through the first quarter and closed that period on a 15-4 run, Dan Ross sinking a 3-pointer to cap that spurt.

HP tried to stick around, but Mike McMullen canceled those notions when, at the end of the first half, he connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the margin to 42-22. Of McMullen's 17 points, 15 of them came before the break.

Westhill spent the rest of the game nursing and expanding that lead. Ross finished with 20 points, including a pair of dunks, while Tom Fisher got 11 points. Dan Karleski and Justin Biles each had seven points.

All this lay in sharp contrast to what took place in the other Class B semifinal.

Bishop Grimes needed a second-half comeback and two overtimes to eliminate Skaneateles 70-66. Mike Sugamosto had a triple-double of 23 points, 17 rebounds and 10 blocks, hitting a 3-pointer late in the first OT to keep the game alive, while Mike Stone added 22 points.

Now the Cobras get a third shot at Westhill, with a sectional title on the line.

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