For the second year in a row, the West Genesee boys basketball team will take a shot at Henninger in the Section III Class AA quarterfinals.
The Wildcats earned that chance in Tuesday night's opening round, when it went east and, led again by Phil Allen, took out no. 7 seed Rome Free Academy 69-65.
WG used to meet the Black Knights on an annual basis, but RFA’s move to the Tri-Valley League this winter prevented them from meeting in the regular season.
Now the Wildcats had to go to the intimate setting of Stan “Buddy” Evans Gym at Strough Middle School in Rome and try to conquer the Black Knights in front of a tough home crowd.
But WG wasn’t fazed one bit, bolting to a 17-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. That proved pivotal, as for the rest of the night RFA would engage in a futile chase, led by Lloyd Parkland, who poured in 25 points.
Every time the Black Knights charged, though, the Wildcats had an answer, often provided by Allen, who hit on four 3-pointers and finished with 29 points overall. Trevor Smith had a big night, too, earning 15 points, while Mike Henry had eight points and Scott Sidnam had six points.
With that win secure, WG could turn its attention to no. 2 seed Henninger. In this same round in 2011, Henninger prevailed 73-50 on its way to a sectional title.
The Black Knights also beat the Wildcats 72-55 on Jan. 10, so WG has plenty of unpleasant history that it wants to turn around if it wants to advance to a semifinal against Fayetteville-Manlius or Nottingham.