Dec 18, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
High honors greeted the Bishop Ludden and Westhill boys basketball teams just before they hit the holiday break.
When the first state Class A rankings were released onTuesday, the Gaelic Knights were in the top spot, something it never achieved when it won a state Class B title in Glens Falls in 2012 or when it returned to the state final four when it moved up to the Class A ranks a year later.
To celebrate, Ludden ventured to Fowler last Tuesday night, and jumped all over the Falcons, breezing to a 68-41 victory to improve its mark to 3-0.
Attacking from the outset, Ludden had a comfortable 22-7 edge by the end of the first quarter, but it was far from satisfied. The margin was 37-16 by halftime, and 55-26 going into the final period, by which point the starters were on the bench.
Dan Kaigler, who passed 1,000 career points against East Syracuse-Minoa on Dec. 13, added 18 points to that total here. Jack Rauch stepped up for 16 points, while Ben Hackett merited 12 points. Tim Rooney (eight points) and Zach Walser (seven points) also got close to double figures.
Meanwhile, Westhill, a participant in three of the last four state Class B final fours (winning it all in 2010), has the no. 4 spot in this winter’s first state Class B poll following a 4-0 start.
But the Warriors, playing without star forward Tyler Reynolds, did not have an easy time of it against visiting Phoenix Tuesday night, unable to get clear until the fourth quarter, though it did beat the Firebirds 63-47.
Proving that its 3-1 start wasn’t a fluke, Phoenix slowed down the game’s tempo in the first half, and it proved effective as it only trailed 25-22 at the break.
Even as Westhill started to find its rhythm in the third quarter, the Firebirds stayed within range, keeping it 43-36 before the Warriors were able to find some breathing space in the closing minutes.
Again, Jordan Roland had much to do with that task, the junior pouring in 29 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, to account for nearly half his team’s offense. Jeff Lobello added 12 points as Dan O’Connell managed six points. Dylan Doupe led Phoenix with 15 points.
Marcellus, who lost to Westhill on Dec. 13, also won at home Tuesday – and this proved quite impressive, as a Bishop Grimes team that would take on the Warriors Friday would fall victim to the Mustangs in a 63-56 decision.
What Marcellus didn’t do was panic after the Cobras, missing leading scorer Tom Steinberg, sprinted to a 20-7 first-quarter lead. Instead, it roared all the way back and went ahead, 28-26, by halftime, and then expanded its lead in the third period before hanging on down the stretch.
It helped that four Mustangs scored in double figures. Mike Dillon led with 17 points, but Cole Walsh, with 16 points, and Jordan Bandera, with 15 points, was right behind as Mike Hastings added 10 points. Grimes got 17 points from Akol Ater and 13 points from Joe Arrigo.
Solvay, who had beaten Bishop Grimes in overtime on Dec. 13, followed that up with another close contest at Syracuse Academy of Science – and another victory Wednesday night as the Bearcats rallied late to beat the Atoms 67-65 and improve to 2-2 on the season.
An active first half saw Solvay go out in front, 36-33, but it cooled down in the third quarter as SAS outscored them 16-9. Unfazed by this, the Bearcats made its comeback in the waning minutes, reclaiming the lead and hanging on at the end.
Tyler Cardinell, with 24 points, and Cody Pucello, with 20 points (including four 3-pointers), led the way. No other Bearcat had more than five points. Jayson Brower kept the Atoms in it as he led all scorers with 29 points.
Of the local teams that played on Tuesday, only West Genesee suffered a defeat, and it proved a painful one as the Wildcats fell to Cicero-North Syracuse by a single point, 70-69.
WG caught the 2-3 Northstars at just the wrong time, as star point guard Connor Evans (ironically, a transfer from Bishop Grimes) returned to action after a concussion suffered in the first half of a Dec. 5 defeat to Nottingham. C-NS had gone 1-2 without him in the lineup.
With Evans, the Northstars jumped all over the Wildcats, leading 28-11 after one period. Somehow, WG shook this off and, over the course of the next two periods, outscored C-NS 43-23 to seize a 54-51 lead.
Yet the Wildcats could not hold on as Evans, with 27 points, led a late comeback, aided by Ronnie Williams (12 points) and Brian DeMonte (11 points). On WG’s side, Shane Temara managed 18 points, while Troy Temara contributed 17 points. Michael Schmidt and Sam Brown had eight points apiece as Nick Cunningham added seven points.