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.