Sixteen minutes of inspired performance pushed the Westhill boys basketball team to the brink of an appearance in the state Class B championship. It was those other 16 minutes, though, that would doom the Warriors to fall short of its ultimate goal.
A disastrous second half by the Warriors, and an incredible performance by Babylon's Fernando Vazquez, pushed the Panthers past Westhill 67-57 in Friday night's state Class B semifinal at Glens Falls Civic Center.
For his part, Vazquez had one of the greatest individual performances in Glens Falls annals. He finished with 40 points, keeping Babylon within sight during Westhill's early surge, and personally leading the Panthers from behind in the latter stages.
So Westhill, a two-time state champion (including 2010), saw its season end in the semifinal round, just as it did in 2011, and what made it more difficult to take was the way things went in the first half.
Even if it was the first time on the big Glens Falls stage for this group of Westhill players, it was quickly apparent that they weren't rattled by in the early stages - especially sophomores Tyler Reynolds and Jordan Roland, the team's main offensive sparks throughout the post-season.
Never trailing, Westhill bolted out to an 11-5 edge in the game's opening minutes, Reynolds notching seven of those points. From there, the Warriors and Panthers traded baskets until the early part of the second quarter.
And it was there that Westhill really started to take over. Four straight free throws from Roland initiated a 9-0 run capped by another of Reynolds' 3-pointers.
Babylon went cold, missing all kinds of shots, while Westhill was busy making 56.5 percent of its field-goal attempts. Reynolds, by halftime, had 15 points, with Roland getting 13 points in the first two periods, and the Warriors were up 37-24 at the break.