Three area high school boys basketball teams would hit the big stage at Onondaga Community College during the two days of the annual Peppino’s Invitational.
Of them, West Genesee and Westhill had already played once, with wildly different results last Wednesday as the Wildcats prevailed 62-52 at Christian Brothers Academy and the Warriors, against Skaneateles, took a 64-56 defeat.
Even as a defending Section III Class B champion welcoming back the likes of Zach Brown to its lineup, the Warriors found itself having to replace four senior starters (Sean Dadey, Owen Matkuas, John Geer and Holden Carroll), and they were missed against Skaneateles.
Most of the game was played on even terms, but the Lakers outscored the Warriors 33-25 in the second and third quarters, and that made the difference.
Brown still had 17 points, with Dan Washburn getting 12 points and Charlie Bolesh adding 10 points. For the Lakers, Jack Canty, with 17 points, led the way as Nate Fouts (16 points) and Jack Whirtley (14 points) offered plenty of help.
Meanwhile, at CBA, West Genesee only managed one field goal in the first five-plus minutes, yet surged out in front to stay in the second quarter as Lucas Sutherland got seven of his nine points in this period.
Despite building its margin to 10 in the third quarter, WG had to withstand CBA’s late push, not doing so until it put together a 9-0 run late in the fourth quarter, including key baskets by Jack McLane and Kam Jones.
All game long, Will Amica led the Wildcats’ attack, pouring in 20 points as McLane got nine points to match Sutherland and all 10 players that saw action got at least one point. CBA’s Aaron Clendenin paced his side with 19 points.
Now WG was facing Utica Proctor Saturday night at SRC Arena, and it prevailed again, topping the Raiders 81-61. Again, the Wildcats trailed early but rallied in the second quarter, outscoring Proctor 23-7 to take charge.
Sutherland was far more productive here, getting 22 points as Kam Jones stepped up, too, with 17 points. Jack McLane gained 14 points as Amica contributed 10 points.
Bishop Ludden set off Saturday for the first time in more than three decades without Pat Donnelly coaching them. Now Gallagher Driscoll was at the helm, also dealing with the departure of Jai Smith to prep school.
At Allyn Hall Saturday night, the Gaelic Knights confronted Cicero-North Syracuse and dropped a close 71-69 decision despite leading most of the first half and starting the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to break a 54-54 tie.
Fighting back, the Northstars pulled back even, and then, with the score 65-65, Nick Demonte (older brother of Ludden’s John Demonte) hit on five straight points in the last two minutes, which Ludden could not quite overcome, seeing two chances to tie the game in the final seconds turned back.
Nick Button led all scorers with 21 points, while Monte Johnson had 17 points. Champ Reid got 13 points as Nick Demonte and Justin Delvecchio led C-NS with 18 points apiece and Anthony Tricarico added 16 points.
Before that, Westhill faced Canton and, after a close first half, pulled away in the last two periods to prevail 63-49. Brown led with 22 points, while Liam Sanborn contributed 20 points, 11 of them in the first quarter.