Much hype and anticipation swirls around the Liverpool boys basketball team as the 2007-08 season gets underway.
Under the tutelage of veteran head coach Jerry Wilcox, the Warriors were 13-10 a season ago, reaching the Section III Class AA quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Utica Proctor in a 59-46 decision.
From that team, three starters return -- forward Mike Marsella, plus guards Adam Bottorff and T.J. Davis. This gives the Warriors a sense of continuity many of its fellow Class AA contenders lack.
All of this hope, though, could not prevent Liverpool from a rough baptism last Saturday at the Peppino's Invitational at Henninger High School, where it faced East (Section V) and fell to the Orientals by a score of 65-47.
East, which hails from the city of Rochester, brought a 6-10 center named Jazzmin Huffman that matched up against Marsella, and their paint battle would go on throughout the afternoon.
With strong defense and hot shooting, Liverpool built a 19-11 lead by the early portion of the second quarter. East roared back, though, using a 14-4 run to go in front before the teams went to the break in a 25-25 tie.
Though East inched in front after halftime, the real break didn't come until the last two minutes of the third period, when full-court defensive pressure began to wear on the Warriors, leading to turnovers and a 17-4 run that lingered into the fourth quarter.
Davis was a steady offensive force throughout the game, and his 21 points accounted for nearly half of Liverpool's total. Zach Crotty, one of the Warriors' two new starters, added 10 points, while Mike Suatoni (the other new starter) had six points despite foul trouble.
For East, Bobby Bell led the way with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, while Huffman added 13 points, all the while holding Marsella to just four points.
This was part of a two-day Peppino's event where Fairport beat Nottingham and Proctor knocked off Rush-Henrietta behind Deandre Preaster's 30 points. Also, Henninger edged CBA in a 62-56 classic.
On Saturday, the Warriors go to Niagara Falls for the Cataract City Classic, where it will face Niagara Catholic. Liverpool's game next Tuesday against Proctor has been postponed, with a game against Nottingham to replace it on the docket.