Westfield unwavered

Wolverines win Winter Classic over Wildcats, 64-49

OBSERVER Photo by Lisa Monacelli Shawn Horr (24) of Westfield battles with Tanner Ramsey (12) and Chance Meeder (13) of Sherman during Saturday’s Westfield Winter Classic championship game.

WESTFIELD — The Westfield Wolverines boys basketball team defeated Sherman, 64-49, to win the Westfield Winter Classic tournament on Saturday night.

“We played hard,” said Sherman coach Cory Emory. “We just got beat by the better team tonight.”

Down its co-captain, Jared Gleason, after an injury Friday night, Sherman was outmatched by the depth of Westfield, who had eight players register points on the scoreboard on Saturday.

“I’ve got nine or ten kids I can move in or out,” said Westfield coach Bob North.

Westfield jumped out early due to two huge blocks, by Julio Torres and Colby Bills, followed by a 3-pointer by Nathan Culbreth. The hot start got the home crowd rocking, and they would not calm down all night long.

Both teams were just as energized, with talking by players on both sides directed at each other beginning very early on. Westfield held a narrow, four-point lead after the first quarter, 17-13, over Sherman.

Westfield stretched its lead to seven at halftime, behind eight points in the second quarter off the bench from Brock Schuster. The score at the break, 28-21.

The third quarter is where the Wolverines pulled away. Westfield began the third on a 14-2 run, with 3-pointers from Schuster and Shawn Horr. The score was 42-23 and Westfield’s crowd was deafening. At the end of the third, the Wolverines led the Wildcats 47-29.

After the third quarter, it seemed like Westfield would roll to victory. Though eventually that would be the case, Sherman did not go down without a fight. The Wildcats battled back to within nine points in the fourth, but Westfield was able to silence the late run and hold on for the double-digit victory in the tournament final.

Westfield was led by Horr, who had a game-high 23 points on the night, in addition to 14 rebounds and four steals.

“Fourteen rebounds in a double-double, I’ll take that from him any day,” said North. “He’s an outstanding shooter.”

Schuster added 13 points, while Andrew Baribeau had eight points and seven rebounds. Westfield grabbed 50 rebounds as a team, which North noted was “really good for us. I can’t remember the last time we did that.”

After the game, Horr was named the tournament’s MVP. Not a bad feat for a player who did not play in the first quarter of Friday’s game, who had to get “out of the doghouse,” according to North.

Whether or not the result will be the same the next time these two league foes face off, Westfield was the better team this time around.

“Tonight, we were (the better team),” said North, who credited Sherman as one of the teams he was looking out for coming into the season.

Despite the loss, Emory was still proud of how his team played in the tournament.

“I’m fine with how we started … we found where we need to improve,” said Emory. “I’m proud of our guys.”

Westfield has a lot to improve on despite the victory, with 38 turnovers on the evening. Things will not get any easier moving forward, as Westfield hosts Chautauqua Lake on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The leading scorer in Chautauqua Lake history, Devin Pope, comes in hot after scoring 35 points in the season-opener in a win over Panama.

“He’s one of the best, not only in our county, but in all of Western New York,” said North. “He’s going to get his, we’ll have to do a good job on the rest.”

The All-Tournament team for the Westfield Winter Classic, as voted on by the coaches, is as follows: Tanner Ramsey (Sherman), Mike Beatman (Sherman), Nathan Culbreth (Westfield), Lewis Markham (Forestville), Tylar Olson (Falconer), MVP: Shawn Horr (Westfield).

Twitter: @bradencarmen