As it turned out, repeating as Section III Class AA champions, and then advancing to the state final four, only made the West Genesee girls basketball team hungry to get back there again.
With a strong returning cast led by the sister tandem of Mackenzie and Madison Smith, the Wildcats would open its season at Christian Brothers Academy last Thursday night and have plenty of early stress before a big second half led to a 57-34 victory over the Brothers.
Whether it was opening-night nerves or just solid work from CBA’s defense, WG went cold in the second quarter, allowing the Brothers to seize a 25-20 lead going to halftime.
Then it all turned, and while the Wildcats’ pressure picked up and stifled CBA throughout the second half, the Smith sisters caught fire,
Madison Smith hit six 3-pointers to account for most of her 23 points as Mackenzie connected three times beyond the arc on her way to 18 points. Help came from Aleysha Castanon, who hit a pair of 3-pointers and finished with nine points overall.
Westhill appeared primed to rise to the top of the Class B ranks with Ludden gone, but it got upended in its season opener last Wednesday when it went to Skaneateles and lost, 53-47, to the Lakers.
Each half was similar in that the Warriors would take the lead, only to give it back, held to three points in the second quarter as Skaneateles went in front 22-21 before intermission.
Then, Westhill regained the lead, only to get outscored 18-7 in the final period. Jenna Larrabee had 16 points, with Catherine Dadey (12 points) and Mackenzie Martin (11 points) also getting to double figures, but the Lakers had more depth and balance as six players put in at least six points, but none had more than the 11 put up by Olivia Dobrovosky and Maeve Canty.
On Friday, Westhill looked to rebound at Chittenango,
Marcellus has just eight players on its varsity roster to start the season, but they put together a remarkable effort against ITC/Fowler last Wednesday, winning by a score of 93-4.
Both of ITC/Fowler’s field goals came in the second quarter. Otherwise, it was a complete shutout, and five different Mustangs scored in double figures.
Kade DeMarle led with 20 points, but Hannah Durand and Katie MacLachlan were close behind with 18 points apiece. Emma MacLachlan had 11 points, with Sarah Fallon getting 10 points and Sam Wynne earning nine points.
In Saturday’s game against General Brown, the Mustangs
At Jordan-Elbridge, former Eagles great Molly Hourigan has returned to coach her alma mater, hoping to spark a turnaround, but the opening stretch was rough.
On Nov. 23, in the opener of the More Than A Game Tournament at Onondaga High School, J-E lost, 52-35, to LaFayette, with Ashlee Eaton scoring 14 points and Mollie Yard adding six points. Charlotte Ryan and Grace Dow led the Lancers with 18 points apiece.
Host Onondaga then beat J-E 56-28 in the consolation game a day later. The Eagles only had eight first-half points as Riley Cox got 22 points, four rebounds and four steals for the Tigers. Yard (10 points) and Eaton (eight points) accounted for most of J-E’s production.
J-E then lost last Wednesday to Homer 47-27, the damage done when the Trojans built a 36-9 edge by halftime. Eaton still finished with 10 points, while Margo Miller earned six points.
Solvay had its opener at Cazenovia last Thursday night, where both sides struggled to produce baskets most of the night, but a single run made the difference as the Bearcats lost 34-19.
Down 12-7 at halftime, Solvay saw the Lakers get away with a 14-4 third-quarter surge. Carly Devereaux led the Bearcats with eight points as Hannah Matteson (12 points) and Katie Ammann (10 points) paced Cazenovia.