Dec 06, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Though only a sophomore, Jordan Roland could make himself the key reason why the Westhill boys basketball team challenges Bishop Grimes for supremacy in both the OHSL Liberty division and in the larger Section III Class B ranks.
Roland offered a big hint at what he can do in the Warriors’ season opener at Skaneateles Wednesday night, putting together a big, brief outburst that led to a 58-43 victory over the Lakers.
From its back-to-back sectional titles and trips to the state final four that included a state Class B championship in 2010, the Warriors stepped back in 2011-12, going 9-11 and only reaching the sectional quarterfinals before falling to Marcellus.
Now, though, head coach Kevin King’s squad has a spicy mix of youth and experience and a roster that goes at least nine deep, all of which saw court time at Skaneateles by the time the first quarter was over.
At that point, Westhill enjoyed a 14-10 lead. Though it never trailed in the game, the Warriors watched Skaneateles catch up at 22-22 late in the second period and only trail by two, 25-23, going to the break.
Yet the Lakers had squandered its best chance to take control, mostly through poor free-throw shooting. Skaneateles sank only three of 10 foul shots in the first half, and it got worse in the last two periods, with the hosts converting just two 13 attempts at the line.
Midway through the third quarter, the Warriors still nursed a slim 29-25 edge, but all of that began to change when Roland, shut out for large portions of the first half, drained a 3-pointer from the corner.
Within the next two minutes, Roland got open for another 3-pointer and, twice, drove to the basket, made shots and drew fouls, completing the three-point play.
All told, it was 12 of Roland’s eventual game-high 18 points, part of an 18-4 Westhill run from which Skaneateles could not recover, despite 15 points from Ben Eppolito, 11 points from Bobby Leslie and 10 points from Austin Gardner.
To help out Roland, Westhill saw another sophomore, Jeff Lobello, come off the bench to score 10 points, while Jake Redmond got nine points and Tyler Reynolds earned eight points.
Westhill would meet a new face to the Liberty division, Institute of Technology Central, in the home opener two nights later, and Roland would again take over, this time for an entire game, as the Warriors beat the Eagles 78-65.
The fast-paced contest began to shift in Westhill’s direction during a wild second quarter where the Warriors managed to outscore ITC 27-19.
Armed with a 41-32 halftime advantage, Westhill kept it because no one on the Eagles could stop Roland. Between 15 field goals, four of them 3-pointers, and four free throws, Roland shattered his own career mark and piled up 38 points, tops among any single player in an OHSL game so far this season.
Reynolds offered the most support, finishing with 13 points, while Redmond had nine points. Lobello and Sean Dekay each had six points. Rensey Chandler led ITC with 23 points.
Westhill hosts a much-improved Jordan-Elbridge side on Wednesday night before visiting the other league newcomer, Syracuse Academy of Science, on Friday.