Dec 19, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
One Westhill basketball team is defending a state championship with few of the players that got them there. The other has grand plans to reach that same plateau this time around.
Such was the state of Warrior basketball as the 2010-11 season began, nearly two weeks after both sides were supposed to have taken the court for the first time.
Separate winter storms kept Westhill from two possible openers – first against Cazenovia on Dec. 7 (girls) and 8 (boys), then last Wednesday’s games against Hannibal. The snows also wiped out nearly a week of valuable practice time.
At last, the snow cleared out and, on Friday night, Westhill got underway – with the results clearly reflecting the amount of work each of the sides must face.
All is good with the girls Warriors, who went 17-3 a season ago, but got flattened by Jordan-Elbridge 51-30 in the Section III Class B semifinals.
Determined not to let that happen again, head coach Sue Ludwig worked her players hard in the off-season – and got an enormous boost when sharp-shooting guard Ashley Cianfriglia transferred from nearby Bishop Ludden to join promising freshman Anna Ross in the backcourt.
Together, Ross and Cianfriglia took apart Skaneateles in Friday night’s opener, not stopping until they had registered a 73-33 victory over the Lakers.
Both the start and finish were breathtaking, as Westhill led 18-6 through one period, then sifted through the middle stages before closing on a 27-3 outburst.
All the while, Ross torched the Lakers’ defenses, setting a new career mark with 32 points as she nearly matched Skaneateles by herself. And the Lakers couldn’t concentrate on her because Cianfriglia was connecting on four 3-
pointers and working her way to 26 points. Sam Peebles (eight points) and Maggie Tripodi (six points) offered up the support.
Contrast that to what Westhill’s boys basketball team had to face in the wake of riding all the way to Glens Falls last March and claiming the state Class B championship.
Head coach Kevin King had to see an extraordinary senior class – Dan Ross, Mike McMullen, Tom Fisher, Dan Karleski and J.T. Alcaro – graduate. Nathan Nigolian, Justin Biles and Kevin McAvoy return, but the task for the Warriors to claim championship glory again is quite tall.
That was evident in Friday night’s opener at Sknaeateles, where the bigger and more experienced Lakers pulled away to beat Westhill 75-49.
The Warriors hung close until the third quarter, when Skaneateles outscored them 23-12 and kept pulling further away, despite Nigolian landing 22 points and Biles adding nine points. On the Lakers’ side, four players scored in double figure as Pat Roberts got 18 points, Kevin Rice added 15 points and Brandon Barron and Paul O’Donnell each got 12 points.
Both of the Westhill teams take on Solvay Tuesday night, then head to the holiday break – where the boys Warriors will again take part in the CBA Holiday Classic.