SYRACUSE For the first 16 minutes on Friday night’s Section III Class AA boys’ basketball quarterfinal final, West Genesee, fresh off an upset win over Rome Free Academy in the first round, was able to force defending champion Henninger out of its comfort zone.
The no. 10 seed Wildcats, though, ran out of fuel in the end, as the No. 2 Black Knights advanced with a 72-51 win thanks to stellar paint play from senior forward Marquies Young in the fourth quarter.
“We weren’t too focused in the beginning,” said Young, who scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. “As the game went on, we came together and played like we know how to play, did what we’re supposed to do.”
Right out of the gate, the Black Knights pressed incessantly, forcing a few early turnovers. Henninger guard Tevin Chisholm hit a buzzer-beating floater in the first to give the Knights a 15-6 advantage heading into the next frame. During the span and for most of the game, though, the Wildcats were able to force the Knights out of the paint with a stifling zone defense, forcing long-range jumpers.
Unfortunately for WG, Henninger was on-point from long distance, nailing 10 3-pointers on the game.
“We did exactly what we set out to do,” Wildcats coach Fred Kent said. “They’re bigger and faster and we didn’t want to get beat down low. But when a team is shooting like that it makes it really hard to win.”
It was a bittersweet loss for the Wildcats (8-11), a team that started the year 5-2 before collapsing for six straight losses. Kent said it was a pleasant late-season turnaround to kill the slump, and that the Wildcats came into Henninger’s home court “expecting” to win.
And it was the definition of a team effort for the Knights, who had four players score in double figures led by Chisholm’s game-high 18. Keith Tyson II and Kavon Delee chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively.