If the Fayetteville-Manlius girls basketball team's rise to the top of the local Class AA ranks was a well-kept secret for much of December, then the secret is out.
In the opening round of the West Genesee Booster Club Tournament at Westhill last Wednesday night, the Hornets made a big statement.
Running up against long-time Class B power Westhill, the Hornets ignored the Warriors' pressure, took full control early, and never let go until it had earned a 61-45 victory.
Playing close to perfection on defense in the early going, F-M used turnovers to create fast breaks and baskets on the other end, taking a 16-6 lead by the end of the first quarter.
For the rest of the night, Westhill would make serious runs -- but each time, the Hornets answered, most notably in the fourth quarter, where it used 13 unanswered points to settle the matter.
Inside, F-M never let Westhill center Lisa Olszewski get established, holding the senior to just eight points. Thus, Carly Cooper's five 3-pointers (she had a team-high 16 points) did not do much damage.
Meanwhile, Morgan Axenfeld did most of her scoring in the second half and led the Hornets with 18 points. Carrie Vedder hit a trio of 3-pointers on her way to 12 points, while Torie Lee had 11 points and Emily Trapani added nine points.