SYRACUSE A familiar face - senior Nicole Granteed - and a newer face - eighth-grader Danielle Rauch - combined to give the Bishop Ludden girls basketball team a defining moment.
Granteed's 22 points and Rauch's 20 points led the Gaelic Knights past undefeated neighbor and rival Westhill 59-52 in Monday night's OHSL Liberty American division showdown.
"It's a good win for these girls," said Ludden head coach Jerry Roesch. "To come out on top here is big."
A 7-1 start, including wins over the likes of Skaneateles and Indian River, had legitimized Ludden's status as a league and Section III Class B title contender. But the Warriors, with its 5-0 mark, still loomed as an obstacle the Gaelic Knights had not cleared in recent times.
But from the moment it opened the game on a 6-0 run with baskets from Rauch, Granteed and Gemma O'Kane in the first two minutes, forcing Westhill head coach Sue Ludwig to use a time-out, Ludden would dictate the game's pace.
Throughout the first half, Granteed, the senior forward, showed the way. Despite picking up two early fouls, she kept getting open inside, and Ludden kept going to her, leading to 14 points in those first two periods as the Gaelic Knights stretched its lead to double digits.
"She (Nicole) is our horse, and we just kept going to her," said Roesch.
Rauch was making an impression, too, thanks to her quick hands on the defensive side and her dribbling ability once she got near the basket. She had eight points in the first half, including a steal and lay-up that stretched Ludden's advantage to 29-16 late in the second quarter.
But when Granteed went to the bench to protect her from further foul trouble, Westhill pounced, cutting Ludden's lead to 31-24 by halftime and then erasing the rest of that margin in the third quarter, led again by the senior tandem of Sam Peebles and Anna Ross.