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New-look Hornets take out new-look Spartans

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.

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