Still at no. 2 in the state Class B rankings, the Westhill boys basketball team is finding places where it can improve, especially since it faces a big test Tuesday night when it goes to Buckley Gym to take on the 9-1 Cazenovia Lakers.
It was the Warriors’ defense that was on full display in last Wednesday’s game against Syracuse Academy of Science, as it stifled the Atoms from start to finish in a 69-33 romp.
Trademark man-to-man pressure took time to settle in – but when it did, SAS was in trouble, managing just six points in the second quarter as Westhill took a 30-16 lead to halftime.
A 23-11 third-quarter burst settled matters, as Jordan Roland, adding to his defensive output, earned 23 points to lead both sides. Fellow junior Tyler Reynolds contributed 16 points, with Mike Burton adding nine points and Ryan Roland six points.
Marcellus also maintained good form on Wednesday, going to Solvay and, with a big late surge, turning a close contest into a romp as it defeated the Bearcats 69-50.
Essentially, two surges won this game. Up just 19-17 after one period, the Mustangs outscored Solvay 20-9 the rest of the half to gain a comfortable advantage.
When the Bearcats tried to rally in the second half, Marcellus answered again, closing on a 21-9 run that, by the end, helped put four players into double figures.
Jordan Bandera led with 22 points, including seven successful free throws. Mike Hastings, with 19 points, was close behind, while Mike Dillon managed 11 points and Wyatt Stehle managed 10 points. Solvay had no one get close to Bandera’s totals, though Tyler Cardinell led with 14 points and Doug Smith contributed 13 points. Cody Pucello managed eight points.
When Westhill took its turn against Solvay Friday night, it was much the same story as with SAS, the Warriors routing the Bearcats 73-39 as it started the game on a 25-7 run and kept pulling further away from there, leading 59-28 by the end of the third quarter.