To everyone on the Christian Brothers Academy boys basketball team, the wait was quite worth it.
The Brothers became the first team all season to knock off Fayetteville-Manlius on its vaunted home court last Tuesday night, surviving every possible pitfall and leaning on Marcus Sales for a 57-53 victory over the Hornets.
Right up to the final seconds, the issue was in doubt, but Sales' successful free throws sealed the outcome and capped a night where the junior tormented F-M's defense and ruined Senior Night.
Just as it did when F-M stunned Utica Proctor and Henninger in back-to-back home outings late in January, an overflow crowd tucked into every corner of the "Hornets' Nest", primed to see another possible conquest of a big-name foe.
They had to wait a long time. The game, originally set for 7 p.m., started nearly two hours later, the result of a JV contest that took five overtimes to complete, in addition to all the Senior-Night festivities.
Both sides were primed to go -- as shown by a high-scoring first quarter where F-M surged to the front, 19-15, a sharp contrast to the grinding defensive effort it had shown against Proctor and Henninger.
The grind returned in the game's middle stages. Each side struggled for baskets, but the Hornets struggled more, allowing CBA to slip into a 37-34 lead by the end of the third quarter.
Then the frantic pace returned, as the sides took turns hitting big 3-point shots -- Sales and J.T. Miranda for the Brothers, Ethan Gilbert and Patrick Lee for the Hornets.
Ultimately, the game came down to the foul line. Up by two after F-M cut away at its lead, CBA sealed it when Sales hit two big free throws, pushing his total to 28 points for the night, including five 3-pointers.
Miranda, with 11 points, offered the most support to Sales as Mike Goodman (eight points) and Mike Paulus (six points) had modest outings. Gilbert also had five 3-pointers on his way to a season-best 21 points, while Lee had 14 points and Brett Small added seven points.