The Bulldogs rallied back from a rocky start and a 17-point deficit to tie the game in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, only to see the Tully Black Knights pull away for a 42-37 victory in the Class C-1 final.
"In a way, it is heartbreaking," said Westmoreland coach Jim Sojda after the Bulldogs ended their season at 17-4 overall.
"We will be back, and thatís the message that Iím sending these guys. This is a body of work for us. Sometimes you have to stumble and get some experience in these games. Tully had the experience, and I give them a lot of credit," Sojda added.
Ryan Mathis hit one of two free throws for the Bulldogs to tie the score at 37-all with 2:30 left before the Black Knightsí Rory Spain was fouled underneath his own basket on the next possession to put him on the free throw line, where the No. 1 seeded Black Knights were ice cold all night, shooting a dismal 9-for-20 from the charity stripe.
Spain made the second of two shots to give his team back the lead, before the Bulldogs committed two turnovers in the final 90 seconds and Tyler Redington buried a deep three-pointer with 38.6 seconds left in regulation to give the Black Knights a 41-37 lead.
It was certainly the shot that was heard around the Aud.
"I knew the shot clock was running down, I knew we needed a big shot and I knew at the time I had the confidence in myself, so I took it," said Redington, who finished with five points and helped the team improve to 20-1 overall.
Tully, which won a sectional championship back in 2006, lost down the stretch to Onondaga in the title game last year and knew that they would rely heavily on their experience to get the job done this time around.
"Last year we lost our composure, and this year we didnít," the senior Redington said.
Tully will face Class C-2 winner West Canada Valley, which defeated Watertown Immaculate Heart Central in overtime, 67-65, for the overall Class C title on Tuesday at Chittenango High School at 7 p.m.
"When he hit that shot, I knew we were going to have to work twice as hard now. It was a great shot and just a great play," said Westmoreland junior wingman Jason Colburn, who had a team-high 15 points.
"It was a great experience playing here for all of us, Iíll never forget playing here," Colburn added.
For the rest of this story check out the Rome Sentinel.