Feb 06, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Not since 2011 had the Westhill girls basketball team lost a regular-season contest, going 34-1 the past two seasons while traversing through one of the toughest leagues in the state unbeaten.
At last, that string came to an last Tuesday night, when the state Class B no. 2-ranked Warriors went to Buckley Gym and took a 49-45 defeat to Cazenovia.
It wasn’t like the Lakers (14-2) were a pushover, anyway, having risen to no. 22 in the same state Class B poll. Cazenovia also remembered, vividly, the missed chances it had when it lost to Westhill 49-39 a month earlier, hurt by missing 16 close-up shots.
And in the early going, the rematch followed the same course. Again led by Anna Ross, Westhill filled up the passing lanes and earned a bunch of steals to grab a 14-6 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Warriors’ lead grew as big as nine, 19-10, in the second period, but Cazenovia turned the game around by closing the half on an 11-1 run, with five of the points from Krsitie Kleine, to lead 23-21 at the break.
Adjusting its defense and taking away the Warriors’ inside game, the Lakers held Westhill without a field goal for more than seven minutes, a stretch that lasted deep into the third quarter.
Early in the final period, the Lakers were up 37-30 when Westhill stormed back with nine unanswered points (six of them from Maggie Tripodi) in a span of less than a minute to go back in front, 39-37.
Instead of flinching, Cazenovia got big baskets from Kleine and Maggie Carpenter. Yet it still looked like the effort might fall short when, with 2:09 left and the game tied 43-43, Kleine missed three consecutive free throws after getting fouled taking a 3-pointer.
Carpenter took over from there, hitting a jumper with 1:40 left and, after an exchange of misses, delivering a big basket with 51.6 seconds left that extended the Lakers’ lead to 47-43.
Not giving up, the Warriors cut it to 47-45 on Mary Washburn’s basket with 12.5 seconds left. But Westhill only had three team fouls, and had to spend the majority of the remaining clock chasing Kleine as it picked up four fouls (Ross fouling out in the sequence) to force the Lakers to the line.
Finally, with 3.4 seconds to play, sophomore guard Audrey Burbidge drew that seventh foul and got a one-and-one opportunity. Only called up from the JV ranks four games earlier, Burbidge instantly proved her worth and swished both free throws to seal it.
It was Carpenter, with 19 points, and Kleine, with 16 points, carrying Cazenovia’s attack most of the way. Ross paced Westhill with 12 points as Tripodi and Sam Peebles produced 11 points apiece.