Feb 02, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Once again, the Westhill girls basketball team found itself in a larger spotlight when it faced Bishop Grimes Saturday night as part of the Hoops For the Hospital Classic at SRC Arena.
And the Warriors responded in a big way, ending the state Class B no. 14-ranked Cobras’ eight-game win streak by playing strong defense from start to finish and prevailing by a score of 55-23.
Even with an 11-2 record and no. 17 state ranking, Westhill had found it difficult to start out well in games, or close them out. Here, though, the Warriors did both against a Grimes side it had to rally to beat 48-44 back in December.
From hot shooting on one end to a zone defense that frustrated the Cobras, everything went right for Westhill in the first half. Among other things, Grimes did not even get a field goal in the second quarter as the Warriors stretched out its lead to 35-14.
Even though it was in total control, Westhill did not let up, even shutting out Grimes in the fourth quarter long after the outcome was settled.
Sam Peebles, with 18 points, nearly matched Grimes by herself, with fellow senior Anna Ross gaining 15 points and Mary Kate Washburn adding eight points. Jordan Vaught was the Cobras’ top scorer, earning just nine points.
To some degree, Westhill could thank Marcellus for wearing Grimes out.
Two nights earlier, the Mustangs were on the brink of beating the Cobras, only to get caught at the very last moment of regulation and losing a 75-69 overtime classic.
Leading by three, 60-57, with four seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Mustangs saw a missed free throw at the front end of a one-and-one chance give Grimes a slim chance.
With Vaught who was enjoying a big night, well-covered, Teresa Shattuck had to go herself. From well beyond the 3-point arc, Shattuck fired just as the buzzer sounded. Whether the shot got off in time, it fell, and was called good, tying it at 60-60.
At first, the Mustangs shook off the shock of that shot and took a 64-60 lead early in the OT period. But Grimes rallied again, going in front, 66-65, and after an exchange of baskets survived when the Mustangs, down 71-69, missed a possible go-ahead 3-poitner in the waning seconds. Three more Grimes free throws sealed.
What made it even more frustrating was that the Mustangs had played quite well all night. Hot early shooting gave them a 26-13 lead early in the second quarter before Grimes closed the half on a 14-2 run, and then pulled in front early in the third period.
Shaking this off, Marcellus reclaimed the lead and stretched it out to six, 58-52, with less than two minutes left. And it was still a four-point edge, 58-54, before Vaught’s 3-pointer with 27 seconds left cut the Mustangs’ margin to one.
Nicole Wynne made a pair of free throws with 22 seconds to play, making it 60-57, and after a Grimes miss, Marcellus had a chance to seal it. Instead, it cracked the door just enough for Shattuck and the Cobras to bust through.
Vaught, by the time she was done, had 33 points, while Megan Costello had 18 points, negating a well-balanced Mustangs effort. Lauren Soule led with 15 points, with Wynne (14 points) and Meghan Witkowski (12 points) close behind as Shelby Nye got eight points, Molly MacLachlan seven points and Rylie Spicer six points.
Earlier in the week, Marcellus moved back above the .500 mark by smashing Solvay 64-24. What was a close game broke open when the Mustangs outscored Solvay 24-6 in the second quarter.
The Mustangs nearly had six players score in double figures. Nicole Wynne, with 12 points, and Tessa Mosher, with 11 points, led the way, while Erica Balman started to find her form again, joining Molly MacLachlan with nine points apiece. Lauren Soule and Morgan DeLand each had eight points.
Then, on Wednesday night, Westhill rolled past Phoenix 60-29, roaring out to a 31-11 halftime lead and then outscoring the Firebirds 22-4 in the third quarter. Peebles and Ross each had 12 points as Delaney Martin led with 14 points and Shannon Bunce managed 10 points.
Solvay went on to play at Bishop Ludden Thursday, and made Senior Night a bit stressful for the Gaelic Knights before it settled down and earned a 52-45 victory over the Bearcats.
Nicole Granteed, Gemma O’Kane and Stephanie Brazell were playing in their last regular-season home game, and they were cold at the start, fortunate that Solvay was struggling just as much.
Gradually, the Gaelic Knights warmed up, inching to a 23-15 halftime lead, and then outscored Solvay 16-7 in the third quarter to give itself a cushion against a late Bearcats surge that included Chelsie Delperuto gaining 20 points and Jackie Gardner adding 12 points.
Even with the attention on the seniors, it was an eighth-grader, Danielle Rauch, setting the pace for Ludden with 15 points, just ahead of O’Kane, who had 11 points. Brazell earned eight points and Granteed added six points.
Solvay also lost on Saturday to Hannibal, 44-35, squandering a 20-16 halftime lead when the Warriors, led by Devin Sorrell (20 points), outscored them 23-8 in the third quarter. Delperuto still managed 23 points, more than half her team’s output, as Sam Vittorio-Fox had eight points and Kelly Nolan added seven points.