Westhill boys stun Bishop Ludden, 47-43

Big second half by Roland keys Warrior comeback

They celebrated Bishop Ludden's 2012 state Class B championship at the start of Thursday evening's opening round of the Rosemary Corcoran Holiday Classic.

A celebration took place at the end, too, only it was the visitors in the happy mood.

That was because Westhill had upended the Gaelic Knights 47-43, giving Ludden its first loss of the season in the latest chapter of a fierce neighborhood rivalry.

"It's a Westhill-Ludden game, and it's going to be a fight," said Westhill head coach Kevin King. "Our kids didn't back down from it."

That was especially true of the Warriors' younger stars. Jordan Roland notched 14 of his 16 points in the second half, and fellow sophomore Jeff Lobello clinched the victory when he sank two free throws with 8.7 seconds left.

In this same gym nearly 12 months ago, Ludden, on its way to that state title, beat Westhill 50-47 on Cameron Littlejohn's 28-foot shot at the buzzer. That was motivation enough for the Warriors, but circumstances added to the flavor.

Ludden's move to Class A also meant a switch to the OHSL Freedom division, away from the Warriors' home in the Liberty division. Thus, the Gaelic Knights' holiday tournament was the only chance for the two neighbors to get together.

Even with the day's brutal snows, a large, loud crowd turned out, with full bleachers of students from both schools. They first got to witness Ludden raise its state championship banner from a season ago, placed on the green curtain at the gym's stage end.

Right from the game's start, Westhill, with its trademark man-to-man defense, set out to make Ludden work for every single point.

Twice in the first half, the Gaelic Knights tried to get away. Ben Hackett's five straight points and trio of blocks helped Ludden lead 13-8 after one period, and Dan Kaigler scored eight points in the second period, the lead getting as large as 10 (26-16) at one point.

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