Feb 15, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A long-range shot falls, a close-range shot misses – and just like that, the Cazenovia boys basketball team’s turnaround 2011-12 season came to a quick end in the opening round of the Section III Class B playoffs.
The no. 4 seed Lakers fell, 45-41, to no. 13 seed Westhill Tuesday night at Buckley Gym, victimized in the closing seconds by its own mistakes, as well as the clutch play of Warriors freshman Jordan Roland.
Cazenovia led by one, 41-40, when it turned the ball over with less than 30 seconds left. After a time-out, Westhill worked the ball around to Roland, open on the right side.
Roland, who had badly missed on earlier outside shots (at least two were air balls), drained a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left, and the Lakers trailed 43-41.
Another time-out followed, and the Lakers set up a drive to the basket. It worked almost too well, as David McEntee flashed open, took a well-timed pass and went in all alone for a tying lay-up with two seconds left. But McEntee drove too far, and the ball went off the glass without even touching the rim.
Fouled with 0.9 seconds left, Roland hit the two free throws that clinched a Westhill victory, keeping alive its chance for a third straight sectional Class B title.
The Lakers had rallied to beat the Warriors 48-46 in overtime on Jan. 27, and the rematch followed much the same pattern, in that two teams well versed in tight man-to-man defense would make it difficult for each other to establish any kind of flow.
For example, Cazenovia held Westhill without a point for nearly five minutes in the first quarter, seizing a 9-2 lead, only to have its own five-minute drought that stretched into the second period, the Warriors going on a 10-0 run to move in front.
The Lakers did lead, 19-16, at the half, and stretched the margin to 24-16 early in the third quarter, pushed there by senior Tanner Whiteman, who had 12 points by that juncture and would finish with a game-high 17 points.
Yet another Cazenovia drought followed, though, as it again went more than five minutes without a point, allowing Westhill to force a 29-29 tie as the two sides went to the fourth quarter.
There, the Lakers used free throws to inch back in front, but Roland, in a hint of his late-game heroics, drained a 3-pointer with 3:58 left that pushed Westhill back in front 36-34.
From there, it bounced back and forth until Andrew Vogl’s layup with 1:09 to play gave Cazenovia its last lead, 41-40, and it forced a turnover seconds later. However, Whiteman’s poor pass on the ensuing possession gave the Warriors a chance – and Roland seized it.
So the Lakers’ season ended at 14-5, with a share of the OHSL Liberty American division regular-season title. Whiteman, McEntee, Darian Smith, Oliver Gates and Joe Romagnoli are among the departing seniors, but Vogl and Kevin Hopsicker lead the returning cast for next winter.