GLENS FALLS -- Westhill has been here before, and they play like it.
After winning last season’s Class B state championship, almost anything that happens, even on a stage as big as the State Boys Basketball Tournament, is manageable.
That includes an early deficit.
With a 10-point deficit after the first quarter, Westhill chipped it down in the second quarter, built a lead in the third and ran away in the fourth quarter to win its second straight state championship with a 70-62 win over Woodlands at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Westhill’s third-quarter run came together late in the period and seemingly in the blink of an eye: the Warriors needed less than a minute to turn a one-point deficit into a 10-point lead.
“I’m going to have to watch the tape, because I don’t recall what happened,” Westhill coach Kevin King said.
Down 41-40, Jeff Lobello made a 3-pointer to give Westhill the lead. Ryan Roland made a 3-pointer of his own on the next possession, followed by Jordan Roland picking up a loose ball and turning it into a layup on the other end. He made a 3-pointer of his own on Westhill’s next possession to make the lead 51-41.
King looked at his team’s effort on both ends of the floor as an instigator for the comeback, going deeper than simple offensive changes.
“They made some tough shots in the first half,” King said of Woodlands. “Maybe we made them a little tougher, maybe they got a little tired, maybe the ball started rolling our way, but we did a pretty good job of getting better shots. It’s as simple as that, I guess.”
The Warriors extended that lead early in the fourth quarter with two more 3-pointers from Ryan Roland plus four quick points from Tyler Reynolds, one jump shot and one dunk.
“When I make one or two, I start to get hot,” Ryan Roland said of his 3-point shooting, scoring all 15 of his points on made 3-pointers.
He added of the overall offensive effort, “We got a lot of backdoor cuts. That made a difference. We started figuring the defense out.”
Reynolds was a versatile shooter for the Warriors throughout the game, making shots from multiple areas on the floor en route to a 6-for-13 shooting performance and a team-high 20 points, seven of them from the free throw line on 7-for-8 shooting.
Class B tournament MVP Jordan Roland scored 18 points and added 15 rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
Westhill’s Brian Daily proved his worth on the offensive glass, with five of his seven rebounds on the offensive end. The offensive rebounds also resulted in second-chance points to help the senior score 11 points.
His physicality and willingness to jump to the ball forced several jump balls and helped the Warriors outrebound Woodlands 39-20.
“That’s my style. I’ve always been that way,” Daily said. “My dad told me when I was really little that I wasn’t going to be too big, so I need to play as hard as I can. If you’re not playing hard, why play?”
King added, “This is the game for Brian. We needed his energy on the floor, his quickness. Outstanding game today.”
For Woodlands, the early lead came by scoring the game’s first five points and ripping off an 11-2 run in the first 4:40 of the game. Pierre Lys scored five of those 11 points en route to seven of the team’s 19 first-quarter points to get the Falcons started.
Woodlands was led by a game-high 21 points from Lys on 9-for-13 shooting, 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Joseph Ross scored 12, Jamil Gambari had 11 and Denzel Small added 10.