Jan 05, 2013 Kris Russell Uncategorized
At this point, the West Genesee boys basketball team can still accept moral victories, even if actual ones against powerful competition prove to be elusive.
Henninger outlasted the Wildcats, 62-59, in overtime Friday night in a non-league meeting of Class AA standouts at the Black Knights’ Joe Mazella Court.
The Black Knights scored seven of the final 10 points to improve to 5-1. WG (4-3) had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but a 3-point shot by Trevor Smith fell short, just off the rim.
Wildcats head coach Fred Kent was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We showed we can play with one of the best teams in the league (and) one of the best teams in the Section,” Kent said. “I hope we developed some confidence tonight. We played the way we’ve been talking about playing. Intense every possession.”
Henninger coach Erik Saroney agreed. “I thought West Genesee played well,” he said. “They had an excellent game plan for us. I’m real proud that we found a way to gut it and win. That’s a game we could very easily lose.”
Each possession mattered deeply from the opening tip. Henninger raced out to a 7-1 lead, only to see WG score the next 12 points.
The teams spent much of the second and third quarters trading leads or playing tied. Henninger led 28-24 at halftime. The game was all square, 43-43, after three quarters.
Then the Wildcats grabbed a 49-46 lead early in the fourth thanks to a traditional three-point play by Mikel Henry, and a 3-point basket by Phil Allen. A Jimmy Cunningham basket midway through the stanza restored West Genesee’s three-point edge, 51-48.
But the Black Knights scored the next five points, capped by Frank Vigliotti’s 3-pointer, and led 53-51 with just under two minutes left.
WG quickly responded via another Henry basket, tying it 53-53, and setting up a final minute of missed chances capped by Smith’s near-miss at the horn
The Wildcats started overtime quickest, going on a 3-1 run. Henninger standout Ahmad McKinney then took over, the senior scoring back-to-back hoops to give the hosts the lead (57-56) for good.
Any thoughts that WG had of coming back ended when Black Knights’ guard Keith Tyson II drained a long 3-pointer from the corner with 17 seconds left. McKinney added a pair of free throws to help seal it.
Allen paced the Wildcats with 19 points, even though he was shut out in the fourth quarter and OT. Henry and Smith scored 18 and 15 points, respectively.
McKinney led all scorers with 20 points. Chris Hicks came off the Henninger bench to score 14 points. Tyson had 13 points.
Both teams begin league Tuesday away from home. WG faces reigning Section III champion Utica Proctor, while Henninger takes on Central Square.