WESTMORELAND — The Cooperstown boys basketball team knew it had to gain its composure and click on offense in the second half in order to share the Center State Conference Division III title with the Westmoreland Bulldogs on Tuesday night.

That’s just what the Hawkeyes did.

Senior center Owen Kennedy scored 21 points and pulled down 18 rebounds as state-ranked No. 16 Cooperstown rallied from a halftime deficit and avenged its only league loss with a 55-46 victory over the Bulldogs in front of a lively crowd at Westmoreland High School.

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Cooperstown, a CSC Division III newcomer, won a CSC Division II title and went on to repeat as Section III Class C champion last year.

"That was a big crowd. It was fun to play in front of," Cooperstown coach David Bertram said. "That’s a big win, especially winning here."

The Hawkeyes improved to 7-1 in their first season in CSC Division III play and 18-3 overall after winning their fifth straight game. They rode a 12-game winning streak before Westmoreland defeated them 74-71 on Jan. 31.

It was the regular-season finale for both teams. The Section III boys and girls basketball playoff pairings will be announced Wednesday.

Kennedy, a 6-foot-8 center, muscled his way in the paint to score 16 of his game-high 21 points in the second half after sitting out much of the second quarter in foul trouble. He also pushed his single-season, school-record rebound total to 349.

"He’s so big for us inside," Bertram said. "He’s a big difference maker and is a big presence defensively and offensively."

Junior guard Jack Lambert, who scored his 1,000th point Monday, and Noah Lifgren added 10 points each for Cooperstown.

Pierce Snyder limited Westmoreland's high-scoring senior guard Luke Fredsell to five points, guarding him closely in the frontcourt of Cooperstown’s diamond-and-one defense, getting help from double teams and even forcing a double foul call between the two as Fredsell was in and out the game with foul trouble.

"Fredsell is a great player and we knew we had to take him out of it," Bertram said. "Pierce Snyder … did a phenomenal job. … And all the other four guys were watching for that as well."

Coach Nick Facciolo’s Bulldogs fell to 7-1 in league play and 16-4 overall. Nik Hameister led Westmoreland with 18 points. Zach Stephens added 12. Fredsell, who surpassed 1,000 career points this season and nailed the game-winner in the first meeting, struggled from the field and converted just one field goal.

In the first quarter, Westmoreland used an 11-0 run to take an early 11-4 lead. Hameister scored six points in the frame against Kennedy and company before Fredsell nailed a contested 3-pointer from about 24-feet out to cap the run, helping the Bulldogs take a 12-9 lead after one.

Cooperstown nailed three 3-pointers in the second period courtesy of Calvin Sandler, Ryan Lansing and recent call-up Spencer Lewis. Fredsell was used sparingly, often coming out on defense having already picked up his third foul, but the Bulldogs still led 26-20 at the half.

Fredsell picked up his fourth on an offensive foul midway through the third. Cooperstown halted the hosts’ offense and used a 14-0 run to take a 37-32 lead through three quarters.

The Hawkeyes made an effort to give Kennedy the ball more, and he lifted the visitors to their first lead since early in the second with a 10-point quarter.

Fredsell reentered the game trailing 42-34 with 5:44 remaining in the fourth. Kennedy continued his hot half with seven more points. Isiah Peck drained two straight 3-pointers to put Westmoreland within 51-46 with 33 seconds remaining before Lambert stretched the lead with four free throws.

Contact reporter Marquel Slaughter at 315-792-4963 or follow him on Twitter (@OD_Slaughter).


Cooperstown 55, Westmoreland 46

Cooperstown;9;11;17;18 - 55

Westmoreland;12;14;12;14 - 46

Cooperstown (7-1, 18-3): Calvin Sandler 6, Kyle Santello 5, Jack Lambert 10, Noah Lifgren 10, Owen Kennedy 21, Spencer Lewis 3.

Westmoreland (7-1, 16-4): Nik Hameister 18, Luke Fredsell 5, Donte Hobal 2, Zach Stephens 12, Isiah Peck 6.

3-point goals: Cooperstown (Sandler, Lansing, Lewis); Westmoreland (Fredsell, Stephens, Peck 2).