Westhill boys spilt, fall in OT to Cazenovia

Girls Warriors remain unbeaten after pair of romps

Though it might not always manifest itself on the scoreboard, there’s little doubt that the Westhill boys basketball team is rounding into better form and looming as a threat for the Section III Class B playoffs in a couple of weeks’ time.

Still, it had to hurt the Warriors to squander a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s 48-46 overtime defeat to Cazenovia.

Cazenovia, at 10-3 and seeking its own big win to break out as a sectional contender, did not get rattled when Westhill, using a 15-2 run, took a 36-27 lead midway through the fourth quarter of what, to that point, had been a contest dominated by both defenses.

The Lakers, who make no secret of how it emulates Westhill's man-to-man pressure, had led throughout the first half, the defensive presence so strong that the Warriors felt it even with open looks near the basket, leading to misses of high-percentage shots.

When those shots started to fall, though, the Lakers appeared in trouble - until Tanner Whiteman, sinking a 3-pointer with 4:15 left to make it 36-30, launched the Lakers' rally.

Again, the defense stood out, holding Westhill without a field goal in the last 5:10 of regulation as a series of free throws from Whiteman and Chad Warren closed the gap to 39-36.

Then, with 25 seconds left, Whiteman took a contested 3-pointer from the far left corner - and sank it to forge a 39-39 tie. Westhill could not manage a shot in the ensuing possession as time ran out, leading to overtime.

In the four-minute extra period, Warren's free throws, plus a layup from Whiteman, put the Lakers back in front. Westhill closed to 45-44, but Warren, who finished with 12 points, hit a key basket with 50 seconds left to stretch the margin back to three.

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