OBSERVER Photo by Matt Spielman
Westfield’s Tanleigh Bestine puts up a shot in the lane in front of Clymer’s Ava Nyweide during Saturday’s CCAA Division 2 West girls basketball game in Westfield.
WESTFIELD — Clymer went 2 of 18 from the field in the second half Saturday.
The Pirates scored 13 points at the free-throw line and held Westfield to just 12 second-half points to beat the Wolverines 43-35 in Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 2 West girls basketball at Westfield Academy & Central School.
“We’re finding different ways to win down the stretch here. We wish we would shoot the ball a little better, but we also had some scorers in foul trouble and that took shots away,” Clymer head coach Dave Bodamer said. “We got to the line and we converted there, especially late. I’ll take it today.”
The victory wraps up an 11-1 league season for Clymer (16-3, 11-1), which will close its season with Senior Night at home Wednesday against Dunkirk before the Section VI Class D playoffs.
“We could be playing our two biggest nemeses to win sectionals,” Bodamer said of Sherman and Panama. “The last three times we’ve played them, we’ve won by a combined 9 points.”
Clymer, the New York State Sportswriters Association’s second-ranked team, had to work for every bucket against Westfield on Saturday, just two days after the Wolverines won a matchup of the same teams in Clymer.
“To go 1-1 against the No. 2 ranked team in the state, I’ll take that,” Westfield head coach Chris Dole said. “My personal opinion is that they didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves.”
“It’s not something that ever really happens,” Bodamer said of the back-to-back matchups. “To be this evenly matched and to try to make adjustments like we did in practice (Friday) a little bit, it’s tough. We split with them and I’m happy with that.”
Despite falling behind 6-0 through the first five minutes of play, the Pirates took an 11-9 lead late in the first quarter before the Wolverines’ Eva Gnadzinski banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the hosts a 12-11 lead.
Tanleigh Bestine and Gnadzinski each hit 3-pointers during the second quarter, but back-to-back three-point plays from Clymer’s Alexys Neckers, followed by an Elli Bodamer putback gave the Pirates a one-point lead with 3:33 remaining in the first half.
Sophia Wolfe eventually gave Westfield (13-6, 7-4) — the state’s 15th-ranked Class C team — a two-point lead on a 3-pointer late in the second quarter, but a pair of Bodamer free throws and a 3-pointer by Neckers with 7 seconds left in the first half made it 26-23 at the break.
An ugly 4-3 third quarter favored the Wolverines and Westfield took the lead with 3:41 left in the game on a three-point play from Bestine. But Neckers gave her team a one-point lead at the other end and Clymer never trailed again as it went 10 for 16 at the foul line in the final quarter to put the game away.
“I was frustrated down the stretch, but (execution) wasn’t really what bothered me the most,” Dole said. “What bothered me the most was that we missed seven layups and nine free throws, and left all of those points out there.”
Neckers finished with 25 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots to lead the Pirates.
“It was hard. She had to earn everything. She had a couple in transition,” Coach Bodamer said. “Everybody knows her, so as the season has gone along, she’s taken more and more on her shoulders.”
Bestine had 16 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Wolverines, who will close their season with their final league game Monday at Maple Grove.
“We’re going to drop the gloves and go at it with the two best players in the league,” Dole said. ” … Tanleigh got the best of Alexys the first time and Alexys got the best of Tanleigh this time.”
NOTES: Elli Bodamer had 9 points and six rebounds for the Pirates, who finished 11 of 37 from the field, including 2 of 10 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 17 times. … Sophia Wolfe had six rebounds for the Wolverines, who shot 11 of 48 from the field, including 4 of 23 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 19 times.