Warriors rally, beat Grimes again

Maybe the faces on the Westhill boys basketball team are different - but what hasn't changed is its ability to beat Bishop Grimes.

Trailing for much of Tuesday night's game against the Cobras, the Warriors made it all the way back and, by scoring the game's last eight points, knocked off Grimes by a score of 65-58.

A season ago, these two OHSL Liberty division foes met three times. All three times, Westhill won, including the Section III Class B final as it eventually earned a state championship.

With so many of the key players gone from that title team, the Warriors were expected, this time around, to step aside as a senior-heavy Grimes squad led by senior Mike Stone would get its turn at the top.

So much for expectations. Stone, who torched Cazenovia for 42 points in his previous outing on Jan. 7, managed just 14 points on this night and did not even take a free throw.

Credit for that goes to Westhill senior Nathan Nigolian, who put together one of the best defensive performances of his career. Wherever Stone went, Nigolian followed, challenging every inch of court space and forcing Stone into bad shots - two of them in the final minute as Westhill made its decisive charge.

Meanwhile, two other seniors, Justin Biles and Kevin McAvoy, led the offense, which had sputtered in the early going as Grimes bolted out to a 24-13 lead by the second quarter.

McAvoy's nine first-half points helped Westhill crawl back within five, 29-24, by halftime. Then BIles got hot in the third quarter, hitting on everything from driving lay-ups to a rare four-point play late in the period. When Nigolian converted a lay-up in the waning seconds, Westhill took its first lead of the night, 51-50, as the fourth quarter loomed.

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