Jan 25, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Now there are two West Genesee basketball teams with legitimate championship aspirations.
While the girls side has roared to the best mark in the Section III Class AA ranks, the boys Wildcats have waited until late January to put together its best stretch of games this fall.
Having already gone to Oswego and cooled off the Buccaneers 65-44 earlier this week, WG returned home Friday night and did much the same thing to Liverpool, Shane Temara helping the Wildcats dominate from start to finish in a 62-39 romp over the Warriors.
Right from the time Nick Cunningham and Sam Brown hit on back-to-back baskets in the game’s opening minute, WG never trailed, and whatever Liverpool tried on the defensive side against the 6-foot-7 Temara, it didn’t work one bit.
Whether it was aggressive drives to the basket, pulling up to hit an outside jumper or calmly sinking a pair of free throws, Temara did a bit of everything in a 10-point first half.
Feeding off that effort, the rest of the Wildcats did a superb job of defensive containment, rarely giving Liverpool any open space to operate, and then proved a step or two quicker any time there was a loose ball.
All of that accumulated work helped WG move in front 18-8 after one period and then keep that double-digit margin the rest of the half, expanding it to 32-17 by the time they reached the break.
And just when the Warriors had a bit of a pulse in the third quarter, Temara would shut it down, first by sinking his lone 3-pointer of the night, and then converting an old-fashioned three-point play less than two minutes later to make it 41-24.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Temara capped his effort in the fourth quarter with some aggressive dunks, all of it adding up to 26 points.
Brown had nine points, while Rob Pocyntyluk managed eight points and Cunningham gained seven points as WG improved to 9-5 on the season.
Not that the WG girls team was quiet in all this, for it had visited Liverpool the night before and, unlike its nervous Tuesday encounter with Oswego, handled things with ease. beating the Warriors 48-27.
The last time the Wildcats played at Liverpool Jan. 12, 2012, it went to four overtimes, WG overcoming three players fouling out to prevail 86-76, the memorable blow Emily Tripodi’s tying 3-pointer at the end of the third OT to keep the game going.
This one was far shorter, as the Wildcats held the Warriors without a field goal for more than 10 minutes in the first half during a decisive 19-2 run. Melissa Fumano, who passed 1,000 career points in the Oswego game, had 19 on this night, with Grace Osterdale and Marissa Hudgins managing 10 points apiece.
A scary moment came early in the third quarter when Liverpool’s Meg Stonebarger took an inadvertent hit to the head and fell to the court, requiring medical attention and a stretcher, though Stonebarger was moving her arms and legs by the time she left the court.
Back on the court Saturday for a non-league game against visiting Rome Free Academy, the Wildcats were effective again, and far more productive and balanced on the offensive side of the ball, as it jetted to a 59-36 victory over the Black Knights.
Though RFA had built a 10-4 mark in the Tri-Valley League, it got off to a terrible start here, unable to solve WG’s defense as the Wildcats tore out to a 19-3 lead.
And though the Black Knights pulled back within 31-20 by halftime, WG never lost control, getting away in the second half as everyone in the starting lineup made major offensive contributions.
Fumano still led the pack, with 11 points, but Courtney Shoults stepped up for 10 points, while Osterdale managed eight points and eight rebounds. Hannah Bakowski also had eight points as Hudgins also was a defensive standout, with six steals to go with her six points.
Now all WG’s girls (12-1) needed to do was get past Friday’s game with Auburn before the Feb. 4 trip to face five-time defending Class AA champion Cicero-North Syracuse.
The boys Wildcats’ game with Auburn is a prelude to big showdowns down the stretch against both C-NS and Henninger, the reigning AA champions on the male side.