Dec 10, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Right to the last possession, the Westhill and West Genesee girls basketball team made Monday night’s neighborhood clash a memorable one.
Not until the Wildcats were unable to get off a shot in the waning seconds were the Warriors able to escape and preserve a 58-56 victory in the first of two regular-season meetings.
Off to a 2-0 start with impressive wins over Fayetteville-Manlius and Utica Proctor, WG was, once again, establishing itself as a prime Class AA contender. And it started out showing every intention of making it three in a row at Westhill’s expense.
Though the Warriors scored the game’s first four points, the Wildcats countered with a 16-2 run that covered most of the first quarter, with four points apiece from Marissa Hudgins and Melissa Fumano.
Absorbing this, Westhill waited until the second period to round into its form. That involved seniors Anna Ross and Sam Peebles anchoring a defense that applied intense half-court pressure, leading to a Wildcats scoring drought that covered four minutes.
Meanwhile, sophomore Delaney Martin was spearheading the Warriors’ attack, getting 12 first-half points. When Peebles hit a lay-up just before the horn, the two sides were tied, 24-24, at halftime.
The tempo picked up in a big way during the third quarter, and both sides nearly doubled their production. Martin stayed hot, adding 10 more points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to give her 22 for the night.
But WG answered every time, Fumano tacking on eight more points, and though the Wildcats trailed most of the period, it never fell behind more than four, and went to the final period only down by a point, 46-45.
As the Warriors’ defense reasserted itself early in the fourth quarter, it again forced WG without a field goal for nearly four minutes. Ross also heated up on the other end, getting eight of her 16 points in the fourth quarter.
One more time, the Wildcats rallied. Hudgins, not known as an offensive threat, hit a runner with 52 seconds left, and after forcing a turnover, the senior drilled a 3-pointer with 20.6 seconds left, shrinking Westhill’s lead to one, 57-56.
Again, WG pressed, forcing Westhill into a turnover, and now had a chance to move in front. But with the ball near the left sideline, Ross got a hand on a Wildcats pass, leading to a scramble, and Peebles came up with the ball.
Fouled with 7.2 seconds to play, Peebles had a one-and-one free throw attempt. She made the first, giving her 14 points for the night, but missed the second, and the Wildcats forced a tie-up and had the possession arrow. With one more chance, WG moved the ball up the court, but the Warriors tied the ball up before a last shot could be attempted.
Ross, aside from her 16 points, added eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Martin also had eight rebounds. Fumano, pacing the Wildcats, had 18 points, with Hudgins setting a career mark as she gained 15 points. Grace Osterdale added 12 points and Melissa Bakowski managed eight points.