SYRACUSE When the Westhill girls basketball sets off in hot pursuit of its first Section III Class B title since 2003, it does so in the wake of a perfect regular-season mark.
The last chapter in this unbeaten march for the 18-0, state Class B no. 5-ranked Warriors came Thursday night, when in front of the home fans it used red-hot outside shooting, especially from Sam Peebles, to sail past Bishop Grimes 68-46.
In the first meeting with Grimes, a 50-42 decision on Jan. 14 in East Syracuse, Westhill mostly relied on its defense to pull through, holding the Cobras without a point for more than seven minutes in the second half of a pivotal 13-0 run.
Though back home for the rematch, the Warriors now faced a Grimes team newly confident after knocking off state no. 12-ranked Bishop Ludden 53-47 earlier in the week.
They traded baskets until Westhill went on an 8-0 run early in the second quarter. In a hint of what was to come, Peebles and Anna Ross both hit 3-pointers during that spurt.
Both sides cooled off for a bit, and the Warriors led 26-18 at the break, but doubled that margin in a 20-12 tear through the third period that featured four more successful 3-pointers. All told, Westhill connected 11 times beyond the arc.
Peebles had four of those treys, on her way to 18 points. Ross matched that point total, adding eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals in yet another strong all-around effort.
Maggie Tripodi chimed in with 14 points (including three 3-pointers) six assists, three steals and three rebounds, while Gwen Dougherty had nine points and 11 rebounds and Kelly Mascari added eight points and seven rebounds. Grimes senior Amelia Heiselman led both sides with 21 points, including six successful 3-pointers.
Two nights earlier, Westhill eased past Homer 54-33, a game that wasn’t as close as how it turned out. The Warriors roared to a 29-12 halftime lead and then outscored the Trojans 18-4 in the third period before the starters rested late.
Peebles led with 16 points, adding four rebounds, three assists and three steals. Ross mixed in 10 points, seven assists, six steals and six rebounds, while Tripodi got 11 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals.