Mar 26, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
More than four months after it began, the Westhill boys basketball team’s remarkable odyssey through the 2009-10 season finally ended Friday at Glens Falls Civic Center.
Trailing by 19 points going into the fourth quarter of the state Federation championship Class B semifinal against Queens High School of Teaching, the Warriors almost caught up, but could not complete the miracle as the Tigers held on for a 68-62 victory to improve to 31-0.
QHST came to Glens Falls as the Class B champions of New York City’s Public School Athletic League. Westhill was fresh off its conquests of Batavia and Burke Catholic for its second New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B title.
Neither team started strong, though. Westhill went up 6-2, then gave up seven straight points before Mike McMullen’s 3-pointer near the end of the first quarter forged a 9-9 tie.
Then came the Tigers’ decisive move – eight straight points to open the second period as all the outside shots that the Warriors seemed to hit the weekend before would not fall this time.
As the deficit grew to 32-18 by halftime, frustrations grew as Westhill’s top player, Dan Ross, went to the bench with three fouls and head coach Kevin King got hit with a technical foul.
None of that seemed to slow QHST’s momentum down, though, and the third quarter saw the Warriors’ deficit grow to 53-34. The Tigers’ speed and ability to finish off scoring plays gave them more points in three periods than Westhill allowed in most of its games this winter.
Just when it looked to be over, though, Ross and McMullen would lead a ferocious comeback, accounting for all the points in an 18-3 burst during the first four minutes of the final quarter. A rout was suddenly a 54-50 game, with lots of time left to catch up.
QHST regrouped, though, and got key back-to-back baskets as, at the same time, the Warriors missed a long series of 3-point attempts, thwarting the rally.
Ross finished with a season-best 31 points, more than half of them in the fourth quarter alone, plus 12 rebounds. McMullen added 17 points, but no other Warrior had more than five points as the team shot 21-for-67, a 31.3 percent rate.
For the victorious Tigers, 5-6 guard Tyler Singleton led with 20 points and, unlike Westhill, had four other players earn at least seven points. Paul Simpson had 11 rebounds to go with his nine points.
Now, as this special 22-3 season ends, Westhill will see Ross, McMullen, Tom Fisher, Dan Karleski, J.T. Alcaro and Corey Hewitt depart. Together, these seniors maintained a winning basketball tradition at Westhill and, in the end, brought it back to the pinnacle.