Even though it was a perfect 18-0 and atop the state rankings, the Westhill boys basketball team did not get a respite or a first-round bye for the Section III Class B playoffs.
Instead, the Warriors, in a 16-team bracket, had to face the no. 16 seed, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, in Saturday’s opening round. Perhaps unhappy that it had to go to work, Westhill took out that anger on the Red Devils and cruised, 87-46, to its 19th win in a row.
Pushing the tempo, the Warriors quickly gained a 22-11 lead on VVS in the first quarter, but didn’t stop there, continuing to run and score at will and stretching its margin to 46-22 by halftime.
Once Westhill had a 74-36 lead going to the fourth quarter, the starters rested. Jordan Roland still managed 22 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals, while Tyler Reynolds got a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Ryan Roland, like his older brother, hit five 3-pointers to account for all of his 15 points, with Brian Daily stepping up to earn 12 points. Dan O’Connell got eight points as Jeff Lobello and Chase Gedney had six points apiece.
Later that night, Marcellus, the no. 9 seed, had a chance to play Westhill in the quarterfinals if it got past no. 8 seed Syracuse Academy of Science, but could not pull it off, paying the price for a slow start and taking a 70-59 defeat to the Atoms.
Glad to return to the playoffs after missing out in 2013, the Mustangs faced an SAS side with which it split a pair of regular-season meetings. But the most recent encounter was an 85-63 loss on Feb. 3 and, less than two weeks later, Marcellus could not turn that result around.
What happened in the first quarter was important, as the Mustangs’ defense was unable to stop much of what SAS tried, falling behind 22-12. Though it cut the deficit to 36-32 by halftime, Marcellus saw the Atoms reclaim a double-digit margin by outscoring the visitors 16-9 in the third quarter.