Wildcats beat Nottingham, nab playoff spot

WG uses pair of scoring runs to cool off Bulldogs

— West Genesee's boys basketball team won a game of spurts, 58-47, Friday night over visiting Nottingham and, in the process, insured that it will return to the Section III Class AA playoffs.

The host Wildcats used a 14-0 run at the end of the second quarter to take a 33-21 edge at halftime. The Bulldogs responded with an identical 14-0 spurt midway through the third quarter to pull even.

As it turned out, though, no spurt was bigger than West Genesee’s 8-0 effort to close the third quarter. It gave the Wildcats a lead (45-37) they wouldn’t relinquish.

WG head coach Fred Kent credited his reserves for the second-quarter run.

“That was from our bench,” he said. “We got some nice contributions from Christian Schmidt, Adam Wierbinski, Jim Cunningham (and) Will Watts. They did a really nice job.”

The hosts looked like blowing Nottingham out of the building early in the third quarter. West Genesee held a 37-23 edge and was looking for more.

But Nottingham had other ideas. Keyed by a pair of Derrick Giore bombs and six inside points from Kamron Davis, the Bulldogs turned the game on its ear. A Davis layup with 2:56 left in the third tied the game at 37-37.

Davis' basket proved to be Nottingham’s last of the quarter. A Matt Naton 3-pointer and an in-traffic basket from Trevor Smith almost immediately gave the Wildcats a 42-37 edge. The hosts extended their advantage to 45-37 after three quarters.

Kent was pleased at how well and how quickly his team responded to the Bulldogs run.

“We came through (and) we made the big shot,” Kent said. “We’ve really been talking about the process all year. We’re going to get better at the end of the year. Tonight was part of that process.”

The Wildcats didn’t yield their fourth quarter lead, but Nottingham never gave up. The Bulldogs got within five (50-45) midway through the frame, only to see Naton score five successive points. From then on all WG had to do was make enough free throws to keep the visitors at arm’s length.

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