Camillus A tough regular-season homestretch awaited the West Genesee boys basketball team, similar to the sort of opposition it would face when the Section III Class AA playoffs got underway.
Given that, perhaps the best thing that could have happened to the Wildcats was an unexpected defeat. An 80-71 loss to Auburn (who was 2-11 at the time) on Jan. 31 provided a jolt, and a lot of people wondered how WG would react to it.
As it turned out, the Wildcats’ answer came over four impressive quarters of play Tuesday night against visiting Cicero-North Syracuse, where it controlled matters from start to finish and, led by Nick Cunningham and Shane Temara, put away the Northstars 64-46 to clinch a winning record for 2013-14.
Coming into the game with a 10-5 mark, C-NS found itself in immediate trouble. WG’s defense never let the Northstars get comfortable, and while the Wildcats’ production remained modest, it still seized a 13-6 lead and set the evening’s tone.
Continuing to improve, WG expanded the margin to 31-19 by halftime, and any time the Northstars tried to climb back in it, the Wildcats had an answer, managing to outscore C-NS in every single quarter before it was done.
C-NS didn’t know who it could stop. Cunningham kept drawing fouls and kept converting his free throws – 12 of them in all – on his way to a season-high 26 points. And when that didn’t work, Temara was hitting on his wide variety of shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, as he finished with 22 points.
Other than Connor Evans, who finished with 20 points, no C-NS player reached double figures as the Wildcats’ defense proved quite effective, holding Brian DeMonte to seven points and Ronnie Williams to four points.
Exactly a week later, WG faces defending sectional AA champion Henninger, one day before the Class AA tournament pairings are announced.