Now the West Genesee boys basketball team found itself in the same spot as a season ago, with a spot in the Section III Class AA quarterfinals and a chance to go even further.
In last Friday night’s opening-round game, the no. 5 seed Wildcats had to fight hard to beat no. 12 seed Rome Free Academy 77-67 in its opening-round contest.
Throughout a steady first half, the Wildcats flew through the Black Knights' defenses, establishing a 36-26 lead that it took to the break. When that margin stretched out to 54-40 by the fourth quarter, WG had a cushion against RFA's late charge.
Showing nice inside-outside balance, the Wildcats had Shane Temara put in 21 points, including three 3-pointers, while Nick Cunningham worked in the paint for 20 points.
Troy Temara gave WG a third option as he poured in 16 points, with Rob Pocyntluk and Michael Schmidt getting six points apiece. Brooke Haga (19 points) and Tyrone Cowell (18 points) led RFA's efforts.
Now the Wildcats could look ahead to a Class AA quarterfinal Tuesday at no. 4 seed Cicero-North Syracuse, a team it beat 64-46 back on Feb. 4. Two weeks later, the rematch will determine who gets Fayetteville-Manlius or Liverpool at SRC Arena in next Saturday's AA semifinals.
WG may have seen its playoff seeding hurt by last Tuesday’s game at Henninger. Though it played well for long stretches, the Wildcats’ mid-game struggles would prove costly in a 62-44 defeat to the defending AA champion Black Knights.
Down 15-14 after one period, Henninger outscored the Wildcats 19-8 in the second quarter to take a 33-23 halftime lead, and it kept stretching out the margin in the third quarter, out of WG’s reach despite Cunningham and Shane Temara earning 15 points apiece. Henninger got 15 points from Keisean Schott, 14 points from Terrence Walker and 12 points from Romero Collier.