Dec 04, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Some years back, the Fayetteville-Manlius and East Syracuse-Minoa boys basketball teams were both in the same league and same class, clashing twice a year.
Though that has changed, the Hornets and Spartans got a chance to renew ties last Friday night in ESM’s home gym — where F-M came out on top in a convincing 74-39 decision.
Both teams were quite successful in 2006-07 — the Hornets going 17-6 and reaching the Section III Class AA semifinals before falling to Henninger, the Spartans earning a 14-8 mark and advancing to the Class A quarterfinals before Indian River ended its season.
And both sides have a lot of new faces in the starting lineup. F-M, under head coach Tom Blackford, saw star forward Pat Lee graduate, part of a group of eight departed seniors (including every starter) that included Ethan Gilbert, Scott Kleinklaus, Greg Gilroy and Brett Small.
ESM head coach Mark Carr also had to replace all five of his starters — Sean Halligan, Tom Sullivan, Brian Para, Jason Kondra and Greg Lothridge.
At this very early stage, it certainly appears that the Hornets has the better of the situation, because last year’s reserves and this year’s newcomers have meshed together.
F-M outscored the Spartans in every quarter, playing air-tight defense that wore down the hosts as the night went on. From a 39-22 halftime lead, the Hornets got even tougher down the stretch, refusing to be content with its big margin.
Brian Zapisek, breaking out as F-M’s new star player in just his sophomore season, led his side with 19 points. T.J. Wilson put up 13 points, while Mike O’Neil would earn 10 points. Ethan Braddock and Shane Bush gained six points apiece.
Other than Kevin Williams, who had 11 points, and Joe Saya, who got nine points, no Spartan player could consistently earn baskets against F-M’s defense.
Three nights earlier, the Hornets got a head start on ESM, playing last Tuesday at Baldwinsville and mostly relying on its defense to string together a 57-38 victory over the Bees.
Steadily, the Hornets built a 39-30 lead through three periods, then pulled further away down the stretch as a veteran and two newcomers led the way.
Zapisek poured in 16 points to lead his side, and another sophomore, point guard Jack Giles, earned seven points, five of them from free throws.
Wilson, also filling some of the void Lee left behind in the middle, earned 15 points. Zach Mueller earned nine points, while Shane Bush gained six points by hitting both of his team’s 3-point field goals.
All game long, F-M was fierce on the defensive side, applying physical pressure and dominating in the paint as it held B’ville’s top player, Brett Botsford, to nine points. Drew Nixon led the Bees with 13 points.
Meanwhile, ESM debuted its new lineup at home Wednesday, against Phoenix, and struggled for baskets all through a 56-38 loss to the Firebirds.
Neither side started with much production, but Phoenix (who had played in the Marcellus Tournament and had two games under its belt) made the decisive move in the second quarter, going on a 24-9 run that put the Spartans in a 32-16 deficit, from which it never could escape.
No ESM player reached double figures. Andrew Raymond came the closest, with nine points, while Pat Sweeney earned eight points and Ben Kreischer added seven points. Shane Gabriele led the Firebirds with 16 points.
Those trends continued in the F-M game, leaving the Spartans at 0-2 going into late-week home games against Fowler and Solvay.
As for the Hornets, it would rest on its 2-0 mark until Friday night, when it takes on long-time city power Corcoran.