Dec 30, 2011 Kris Russell Uncategorized
West Genesee proved to be too nice a host in its Booster Club Basketball Holiday Tournament.
The Wildcats advanced to Thursday night’s final, but had no answers for a strong Ithaca team waiting for them. The Little Red earned the first-place trophy, pulling away from WG in a 68-55 decision.
Westhill was the other local squad in the four-team field. The Warriors lost both of its contests, including a 50-47, last-second defeat by Massena in the third place game.
The Ithaca-WG contest started the like the Westhill-Massena game ended, as they traded the lead for much of the first quarter. Ithaca led 11-8 after one, and maintained a small edge until taking a 25-23 advantage to intermission.
The hosts started the second half well, snaring 27-26 lead with 6:53 left in the third. But that proved to be WG’s final highlight as the Little Red scored the next eight points to spark a 14-4 run. Ithaca eventually led 44-33 heading into the fourth quarter.
“Basically we got out of running our stuff,” West Genesee coach Fred Kent said. “Give Ithaca some credit for that, but we didn’t run our stuff. You’ve got to execute (and) play together as a team. We didn’t do that in a key part of the game.”
Ithaca’s momentum carried into the fourth quarter. The Little Red opened the frame with a 13-6 spurt to grab an insurmountable 57-39 lead.
“We haven’t put four quarters together all season,” said Kent. “We dug too big a hole tonight. We’ve got to fix it.”
A bright spot for the Wildcats throughout this season has been the play of Phil Allen. The junior forward dropped in a game-high 29 points.
“He has a nose for the basket (and) plays hard,” Kent said. “He wants the ball. He wants to be in the situation to lead.”
Allen and Matt Naton were the Wildcats’ representatives on the All Tournament Team. Ithaca’s dynamic guard Eisah Nunn was named Tournament MVP as he scored a team-high 23 points. WG returns to the court next Friday, traveling to Class AA foe Corcoran.
Meanwhile, Westhill let a 17-point second half lead slip in its loss to Massena. Red Raider guard Zach Hopps drained a top-of-the-key three pointer with 1.7 seconds left to provide the winning points.
The Warriors looked to be coasting at halftime, leading 31-15, and extended its advantage to 35-18 early in the third quarter.
But Massena slowly fought back. The Red Raiders trailed by only seven (42-35) after three quarters. Massena finally pulled even (45-45) with 3:20 left. The teams traded baskets before Hopps’ dagger spoiled the Warriors tournament party.
Westhill coach Kevin King admitted the difference in his team’s play from one half to another was a head scratcher.
“It’s something we’ve got to figure out,” Westhill coach Kevin King said. “We figure out how to play well, do the right things in the first half. And then we lose our composure and get away from the simple things that got us the lead. And we go astray in a lot of different ways. It’s been a problem all year.”
Ryan Conroy led Westhill with 13 points. Vi Freeman had 12. Jacob Nigolian dropped in seven points. The Warriors return to action Wednesday against neighbor, and OHSL Liberty rival Bishop Ludden.
WG earned its place in the title game with a 53-30 triumph over Massena. The Wildcats broke open a 10-10 deadlock with by scoring ten of the next 12 points. West Genesee outscored the Red Raiders, 16-11, in the third frame before turning the game into a rout.
“Very slow start. We set the game back a little,” Kent said. “Then I think we picked it up a little bit defensively in the second half and got some easier shots.”
Allen again led the winners with 23 points. Naton had 11 points and Mike Henry chipped in eight.
Westhill let an second half lead slip in its 54-41 first-round loss to Ithaca. The Warriors held a 28-20 edge early in the third quarter, but the Little Red then went on a 10-2 run to pull even at 30-30. Ithaca steadily pulled ahead from there, outscoring Westhill, 15-6, in the final quarter.
“We didn’t respond real well when they made a run,” King said. “(Ithaca) played well. They made a few shots. We didn’t do as a good a job of stopping them as we did in the first.”
Westhill got 10 points each from Conroy and Jordan Roland. P.J. Gebhardt and Freeman both had seven points.
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