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Westhill boys hoops pounds Grimes, clinches league title

Warriors overwhelm Cobras' defense for season sweep

— A 7-2 run, in which Roland scored all of Westhill’s points, bumped the lead to 59-40 with 2:15 left in the frame before Karleski lofted a pass to a cutting Billy to ultimately give the Warriors a 63-42 cushion heading into the fourth quarter.

“It’s just part of the offense,” Roland said. “A lot of people try to overplay us and the backdoor’s open.”

After the final buzzer sounded, the Westhill players exchanged high-fives and congratulations, but nothing to indicate that a league title was a significant accomplishment.

It’s clear that the Warriors have bigger and better postseason aspirations. And they’ll need more performances like this one to reclaim the Section III Class B title it relinquished a year ago after back-to-back state final four trips in 2010 and '11.

“The goal is to win it again," Roland said.

Westhill nearly didn’t win in its regular-season finale on Saturday, trailing Phoenix going to the fourth quarter before rallying late to fend off the playoff-bound Firebirds 55-51 and improve its mark to 16-2.

Maybe feeling too good after the Grimes rout, the Warriors allowed Phoenix (whom it beat 65-47 on Jan. 8) to hang around in the first half, and nearly paid for it when the Firebirds, with a 13-8 push through the third quarter, grabbed a 33-32 lead.

Again, though, Westhill showed poise in the clutch, hitting all the key late baskets and free throws as Roland finished with 18 points and Reynolds added 15 points. Lobello picked up nine points and Karleski again picked up six points. Dylan Doupe (16 points) and Richard Howington (13 points) led Phoenix’s efforts.

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