SYRACUSE At this point, the West Genesee boys basketball team can still accept moral victories, even if actual ones against powerful competition prove to be elusive.
Henninger outlasted the Wildcats, 62-59, in overtime Friday night in a non-league meeting of Class AA standouts at the Black Knights’ Joe Mazella Court.
The Black Knights scored seven of the final 10 points to improve to 5-1. WG (4-3) had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but a 3-point shot by Trevor Smith fell short, just off the rim.
Wildcats head coach Fred Kent was pleased with his team's effort.
“We showed we can play with one of the best teams in the league (and) one of the best teams in the Section,” Kent said. “I hope we developed some confidence tonight. We played the way we’ve been talking about playing. Intense every possession.”
Henninger coach Erik Saroney agreed. “I thought West Genesee played well," he said. "They had an excellent game plan for us. I’m real proud that we found a way to gut it and win. That’s a game we could very easily lose.”
Each possession mattered deeply from the opening tip. Henninger raced out to a 7-1 lead, only to see WG score the next 12 points.
The teams spent much of the second and third quarters trading leads or playing tied. Henninger led 28-24 at halftime. The game was all square, 43-43, after three quarters.
Then the Wildcats grabbed a 49-46 lead early in the fourth thanks to a traditional three-point play by Mikel Henry, and a 3-point basket by Phil Allen. A Jimmy Cunningham basket midway through the stanza restored West Genesee’s three-point edge, 51-48.
But the Black Knights scored the next five points, capped by Frank Vigliotti’s 3-pointer, and led 53-51 with just under two minutes left.