After years of getting beat up by its close neighbors to the south, the Solvay boys basketball team had the rare chance to beat Westhill twice in the span of a month - and knock them out of the Section III Class B playoffs, too.
Alas, the Warriors were having none of those plans. Aiming to defend both its sectional and state titles from 2010, the no. 3 seed Warriors toppled the no. 11 seed Bearcats 71-52 in Friday night's Class B quarterfinals.
Just up the road, no. 4 seed Bishop Ludden did not survive the Class B quarterfinal round as no. 5 seed Bishop Grimes, getting an exceptional effort from senior Mike Stone, eliminated the Gaelic Knights 55-49.
No doubt, Westhill had remembered how, three weeks earlier, Solvay had beaten them 59-55 despite 29 points from Nathan Nigolian - mainly because the Bearcats' 6-7 senior center, Dan Aiello, had dominated in the paint with 29 points and 14 rebounds.
The memory of that defeat gave the Warriors extreme motivation - and that, combined with all of its post-season experience, led to a flawless start when it met Solvay again.
Westhill's pressure defense forced turnovers - and conversions on the other end meant that, after one period, the Warriors already owned an 18-7 lead, poised to turn the game into a runaway.
Solvay made sure that, at least for a while, the runaway didn't happen. Aiello again found room inside to convert, working his way to 23 points as, on the perimeter, Deon Knighton-Kearse gained 17 points. Together, they kept Solvay within sight in the game's middle stages and, as the fourth quarter started, Westhill only led 49-43.
The Warriors didn't panic, though, and instead closed out Solvay with an emphatic fourth-quarter effort. Kevin McAvoy, coming off a 24-point performance in the first-round win over Clinton, stayed hot as he hit on several late shots and finished with 25 points this time.