With its unbeaten mark and no. 4 state ranking, the Westhill boys basketball team avoided tournaments during the holiday school break and would go 15 days before going back on the court Jan. 7 against Syracuse Academy of Science.
The Warriors hit that long break with a record of 7-0, enhanced first on Friday night when it went to Bishop Grimes and was almost perfect from the free-throw line, something that the Cobras could not overcome as Westhill prevailed 61-45.
Grimes was already short-handed, as star senior forward Tom Steinberg was still recovering from an ankle injury suffered a week earlier in an overtime loss to Solvay. Without Steinberg, the Cobras, once 5-0, had dropped that Solvay game and had also lost at Marcellus on Dec. 17.
Still, Grimes was up for Westhill, hanging close early before Jordan and Ryan Roland, exploiting the Cobras’ zone defense, combined for 10 quick points that stretched the lead to 23-11 early in the second quarter, a margin that mostly held until halftime.
Up 35-24 at the break, the Warriors all but sealed matters with an 18-8 domination of the third quarter, constantly going to the foul line – and constantly converting, going 21-for-22 on free throws by night’s end.
Jeff Lobello was the main beneficiary, sinking all 10 of his foul shots as the junior managed 19 points overall. Jordan Roland got 16 points, with Ryan Roland adding 11 points. Tyler Reynolds, after a one-game absence, returned to action and had nine points. Joe Arrigo (15 points) and Johnny Wike (12 points) led Grimes’ efforts.
Westhill made up a snowed-out Dec. 11 game against Altmar-Parish-Williamstown last Monday and roared past the Rebels 86-37, giving itself a 44-12 lead by halftime and breezing from there.
Each of the 12 Warrior players that saw action got at least one field goal, as Jordan Roland led with 25 points, four assists and four steals. Ryan Roland earned 11 points as Mike Burton got 10 points. Reynolds (eight points), Dan O’Connell (seven points) and Andrew French (six points) were close behind.