Camillus For the second time in three weeks the Henninger boys’ basketball team was taken to the wire by West Genesee.
Round one, on Jan. 4, saw the Black Knights pull out a 62-59 overtime nail biter at home in non-league play. Friday night’s rematch in Camillus would again go to Henninger, this time in a 52-47 decision.
Henninger (10-2) improved to 4-1 in league play, good enough for first place in the CNYCL National division with three league games left to play. The Wildcats fell to 3-3 in conference play.
“We were pretty lucky to win the first one at home,” said Henniger coach Erik Saroney. ”We knew coming in to their place in a league game it would be a battle.”
A battle it was indeed.
Wildcats guard Phil Allen came out firing, hitting three 3-pointers en route to 11 first-quarter points. Allen’s hot shooting combined with the Wildcats’ suffocating 2-3 zone defense gave the home team an 18-14 lead after one period.
After a quick start, the Wildcats struggled with the Black Knights’ ball pressure the rest of the night. Allen, who finished the first half with 15 points, was held to just two in the second half.
“I actually told him he can't keep making those all night and we got lucky he didn’t,” Saroney said. “We did double off him early and tried to trap and rotate to him. I didn't think we did a bad job of it, he just hit tough shots. Then second half we just said we can't rotate off him at all.”
The game would see nine ties or lead changes before Henninger’s Romero Collier hit a 3-pointer with the score tied at 34-34 midway through the third quarter. Though the Black Knights would not relinquish the lead again, the victory was not solidified until the game’s final moments.