In a 48-hour span, the Bishop Grimes boys basketball team would get the chance to state its case as the possible favorite for the Section III Class B title.
At least the first half of the task was completed, as the Cobras shed a lot of baggage in the course of last Wednesday night's hard-fought 73-68 victory over Westhill.
All the recent history of this series favored the Warriors, from the three losses Grimes took in 2009-10 (including the sectional Class B final) to the game on Jan. 12 where the Cobras blew a fourth-quarter lead and lost to the 65-58.
Now they met again in the last regular-season home game for long-time Grimes stalwarts Mike Stone and Mike Sugamosto. And they were not about to lose to Westhill again.
A high-scoring first quarter saw Grimes move ahead, 21-16. The Warriors edged back within 39-38 by halftime, and the second half followed a general pattern. Every time Westhill made a surge, the Cobras answered and stayed out in front.
Stone, in particular, got some payback. Held to 13 points and no free throws a month ago, he more than doubled the total to 32 points, including three 3-pointers and seven successful foul shots. In support, Sugamosto poured in 16 points as Casey Evans added nine points. Jon Carnegie and Steve Lembo had six points apiece.
Thus, Westhill lost despite putting four players in double figures. Nathan Nigolian led with 21 points as Ryan Conroy (15 points), Kevin McAvoy (13 points) and Mark McAnaney (11 points) closely followed.
This leads to Grimes' Friday night's game at Skaneateles, who at 16-1 has already clinched the OHSL Liberty division regular-season title. Each of the last two meetings between the Cobras and Lakers have gone to double overtime, with Grimes winning last year's Class B semifinal and Skaneateles rallying for a 95-91 win in East Syracuse a month ago.