More than a decade has passed since the Liverpool girls basketball team last celebrated a Section III title.
This could change Saturday night, though, when the Warriors take on top seed Oswego in the Class AA championship at Onondaga Community College at 7:15.
All season long, Liverpool and Oswego were the two best AA teams. Their only regular-season meeting on Dec. 22 was a close affair where the Buccaneers came out on top.
"The two of us are evenly matched, and we are similar in many ways," said head coach Mike Olley.
Liverpool, the no. 2 seed, went out last week and found a way past two familiar opponents to reach this title game.
To start with, Liverpool needed a big third quarter to fend off the challenge of no. 7 seed West Genesee in last and eliminate the Wildcats, 53-44.
Sluggish after a 10-day respite and a first-round playoff bye, Liverpool muddled through the first half with WG, taking a slim 22-21 lead to the break.
Everything perked up after halftime, though. Finding the weaknesses in the Wildcats' defensive armor, the Warriors increased its production and, at the same time, clamped down on WG to produce a decisive 18-8 margin in the third quarter.
Point guard Tyler Ash, content with distributing the ball to teammates throughout the season at the expense of her own scoring numbers, claimed a bit of that old form with 18 points to lead both sides.
Colleen Maloney finished with 11 points, six of them free throws, while Lauren Pluchino, stepped up with 10 points to help out Sharon Dennis, who had eight points. Nicole Monroe (16 points) and Alyssa Sutherland (14 points) led WG's push.
This led the Warriors into Saturday's AA semifinals at Cicero-North Syracuse against no. 3 seed Fayetteville-Manlius.
For the second time in as many months, Liverpool would beat the Hornets, leaning on its defense to take out F-M 52-41.