Having worked so hard just to get into the Section III Class B playoffs, the Solvay boys basketball team had to feel good when the tournament bracket came out and, as the no. 11 seed, it drew a first-round assignment at no. 6 seed Adirondack on Tuesday night.
Granted, the road trip to Boonville was a long one - but it proved quite rewarding as, with Dan Aiello dominating in the paint, the Bearcats tore up the Wildcats 72-44.
The fact that Solvay worked through a shaky first quarter and still led 14-10 would bode well for the rest of the night as it outscored Adirondack 19-6 the rest of the half to take control.
Though the Wildcats did close within 47-37 by the fourth quarter, Solvay settled matters with an emphatic 25-10 push through the final period.
Every time he got open, Aiello seemed to convert, hitting on 17 field goals (one of them a 3-pointer) on his way to 35 points for the night. And Adirondack could not concentrate on him, either, since guard Deon Knighton-Kearse worked his way to 19 points.
Back at home, Bishop Ludden, the no. 4 seed in Class B, had to get past no. 13 seed Ilion in the first round, which didn't prove too difficult as the Gaelic Knights ousted the Golden Bombers 62-38.
Having made its own long road trip, Ilion was shaky at the start - and Ludden took full advantage, roaring out to a 16-5 lead by the end of the first quarter. From there, the Gaelic Knights nursed a comfortable double-digit margin and, just to be sure, held the Golden Bombers to just seven points in the fourth quarter.
Kelly Beaudoin hit three 3-pointers, as he and freshman Dan Kaigler both finished with 15 points. Corey Hunter worked inside for 14 points as Casey Ganley added eight points.
On Friday night, Ludden will host no. 5 seed Bishop Grimes (a 78-65 first-round winner over Holland Patent) in a highly-anticipated Class B quarterfinal. The two Catholic-school rivals met twice in the regular season, splitting those games - each side winning at home, which could prove an encouraging sign for the Gaelic Knights.