Jan 18, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
At least for now, the West Genesee boys basketball team’s undefeated mark remains.
But it almost got stopped Tuesday night at Liverpool, where the Wildcats had to rally in the final minutes to force overtime, then sweat out four more minutes of action before finally stopping the Warriors 51-47.
The fact that it was so difficult was not a big surprise, even though WG had flattened Liverpool 69-47 in their first encounter on Dec. 27 in the opening round of Bishop Ludden’s Rosemary Corcoran Holiday Classic.
Right after that, the Warriors (coached by former Wildcats mentor Jerry Wilcox) took off on a six-game win streak, only stopped on Sunday when it lost a narrow 65-64 decision to Xavier (New York City) in the finals of the Juggler Classic at SUNY-Utica Tech, so it had a lot more confidence going into its rematch with WG.
Still, the Wildcats were well-rested, having not played since Thursday, while Liverpool was hitting the court for the fourth time in five days. In theory, that should have helped the visitors – but it did not.
Ahead 13-10 going into the second quarter, WG went cold, getting just five points in that period. Only superb defense on the Wildcats’ side kept Liverpool in sight as the Warriors led 21-18 at the break.
Try as it could, though, Liverpool could not get away, in part because the Wildcats prevented both of the Warriors’ top scorers from breaking out. Ian Hamm, who had six straight 20-point outings during his team’s win streak, was held to 14 points here, while Adam Misener, who torched Xavier for 29 points, managed just 13 points here.
That defense kept WG right within range as, in the fourth quarter, it made up a 34-30 deficit, forging a 44-44 tie. Still, it had to sweat out the end of regulation as Liverpool had two shots to win, but could not convert either of them.
That meant overtime – and here, the Warriors’ fatigue may have finally set in, as it managed just three points in that extra session. That allowed WG to move in front as Eric Spencer hit a trio of free throws, Pat Patnode added two foul shots and Matt Naton converted a field goal.
For once, Spencer didn’t have to carry as much of the offensive load. But he still managed 19 points to lead both sides as Greg Wadach added eight points and Eric Wood picked up seven points. WG won despite getting just three points apiece from Corey Herrington and Phil Allen.
So the Wildcats are 11-0 heading into Friday night’s much-anticipated clash with Henninger. Despite a Jan. 15 loss at Gates-Chili, the Black Knights come in with an 8-2 record and present the biggest threat so far to WG’s perfect run.