SYRACUSE Jordan Roland got the Westhill boys basketball team started in Saturday's Section III Class B final against Utica-Notre Dame at the Carrier Dome, so it only figured that he would finish the work, too.
Roland managed 31 points in yet another star turn to help the undefeated, state no. 1-ranked Warriors hold off the Jugglers 63-60 and repeat as sectional champions.
Between Roland and Tyler Reynolds, who finished with 19 points, Westhill mostly relied on its proven junior scoring tandem to turn back UND's formidable challenge.
If the Warriors entertained any notion that getting past the no. 3 seed Jugglers would be routine, the first half took care of those issues, even though Westhill ended it nursing a 28-25 lead.
As he seems to do each time he takes the floor, Roland used his wide range of skills to baffle UND, getting 16 of his team's first 21 points and crashing the boards whenever possible. By game's end, Roland had picked up 13 rebounds.
Whenever Roland cooled down, Reynolds took charge, getting nine first-half points. In fact, Roland and Reynolds accounted for every Westhill point until Jeff Lobello sank a free throw in the waning seconds of the second quarter.
With a lack of variety, the Warriors were more vulnerable, and the Jugglers took advantage. With 12 points from Devin Warmack and eight points from Jerome Brabham, UND rarely turned the ball over and found gaps in Westhill's vaunted man-to-man defense. Only a late shooting slump allowed the Warriors to inch back in front just before the break.
Knowing that UND wanted a slower pace, Westhill attempted, in the third quarter, to go faster, but again the Jugglers had an answer, matching baskets until, at 40-40, Reynolds tried to charge his team up with a baseline dunk and blocked shot that led to another Roland basket.