SYRACUSE Westhill's girls basketball team saw two large leads evaporate before its eyes in Tuesday night's Section III Class B quarterfinal against Bishop Grimes.
Fortunately for the Warriors, the Cobra’s Megan Costello missed a lay-up as time expired, giving Westhill a 43-41 victory and a semifinal match-up Saturday with tenth-seeded Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, who stunned unbeaten no. 2 seed South Jefferson 38-37 to get this far.
“We found a way to win, and that's the bottom line,” Westhill head coach Sue Ludwig said.
Westhill, who beat Grimes twice in the regular season, looked unstoppable heading into halftime of this third and most important encounter, as the Warriors built a 24-13 lead on the Cobras after 16 minutes.
Anna Ross outscored the Cobras by herself in the half with 14 points, but registered only three points in the final two quarters. Sam Peebles, the other half of the Westhill dual offensive threat, was held to nine points.
“Sam and Anna didn’t have their usual games,” Ludwig said. “Both of them were a little tentative tonight.”
As the Warriors' stars struggled, Grimes got back into it, converting four 3-pointers in the third quarter to mount its first rally of the night. Jordan Vaught and Megan Costello hit one 3-pointer apiece, and Katy McInerney added back-to-back 3's to tie it, 32-32, late in the period. Costello scored seven of her team-leading 17 points in the quarter, with Vaught adding seven points.
“They’re good at penetrating gaps or coming off of a screen," Ludwig said. "They were on tonight. They made some tough shots. We've got to do a better job of closing out on shooters and getting a hand up.”
“Our defense lacked communication tonight,” Ross said. “I knew we didn’t play the best we could.”
As hot as Grimes was in the third, it was just as cold through most of the fourth quarter, just when the Warriors found its rhythm again and built another big lead on the Cobras.