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.