Girls Warriors’ unbeaten run ended by Cazenovia

Lakers avenge earlier defeat in 49-45 thriller

— Not since 2011 had the Westhill girls basketball team lost a regular-season contest, going 34-1 the past two seasons while traversing through one of the toughest leagues in the state unbeaten.

At last, that string came to an last Tuesday night, when the state Class B no. 2-ranked Warriors went to Buckley Gym and took a 49-45 defeat to Cazenovia.

It wasn't like the Lakers (14-2) were a pushover, anyway, having risen to no. 22 in the same state Class B poll. Cazenovia also remembered, vividly, the missed chances it had when it lost to Westhill 49-39 a month earlier, hurt by missing 16 close-up shots.

And in the early going, the rematch followed the same course. Again led by Anna Ross, Westhill filled up the passing lanes and earned a bunch of steals to grab a 14-6 lead by the end of the first quarter.

The Warriors’ lead grew as big as nine, 19-10, in the second period, but Cazenovia turned the game around by closing the half on an 11-1 run, with five of the points from Krsitie Kleine, to lead 23-21 at the break.

Adjusting its defense and taking away the Warriors' inside game, the Lakers held Westhill without a field goal for more than seven minutes, a stretch that lasted deep into the third quarter.

Early in the final period, the Lakers were up 37-30 when Westhill stormed back with nine unanswered points (six of them from Maggie Tripodi) in a span of less than a minute to go back in front, 39-37.

Instead of flinching, Cazenovia got big baskets from Kleine and Maggie Carpenter. Yet it still looked like the effort might fall short when, with 2:09 left and the game tied 43-43, Kleine missed three consecutive free throws after getting fouled taking a 3-pointer.

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