Onondaga In the early goings of Thursday night’s boys basketball match-up between Marcellus and Westhill, it looked like the Mustangs were going to hang with the Warriors, newly ascendant to the top spot in the state Class B rankings.
But a second-quarter offensive explosion by Tyler Reynolds, plus a second-half defensive shutdown propped Westhill to a 76-38 victory.
The Mustangs held strong from the opening whistle, and actually led for most of the first quarter. Marcellus finished out the period only down four, 19-15, despite giving up a 9-0 run in the middle of the period.
But Reynolds, a 6-foot-5-inch junior, scored 11 of his 23 points during the second period to ignite the Westhill offense, including a monster alley-oop dunk with 45 seconds left in the half to give the Warriors a 37-26 lead. Reynolds added three blocks late in the same period to stymie the Mustangs more.
“They’re a little bit smaller than me,” Reynolds said, “so I try to take advantage of that as much as possible.”
Westhill head coach Kevin King said it was Reynolds' best defensive performance of the year. “Tyler’s really coming around,” he said. “We need that from him going forward.”
Even after it gained a double-digit lead, King and company weren’t satisfied by how the team played defensively in the first half. The Westhill coach described his team’s first half performance as “sluggish” and “tentative", and Reynolds agreed.
But in the second half, it was all Warriors. After allowing 26 in the first half, the Warriors locked down the Mustangs, only allowing 12 points the rest of the way.
Not only did Westhill hold Marcellus in check, the team also scored 27 points in the third quarter, thanks mostly to the efforts of Reynolds, Jordan Roland and Jeff Lobello. The trio combined to score 17 points and gave Westhill a 64-32 lead, effectively putting the game away.