After starting 7-0, the East Syracuse-Minoa hit a proverbial wall, dropping three straight games to Baldwinsville, Fulton and Jamesville-DeWitt.
And it nearly got to be a four-game skid -- but the Spartans rescued itself last Tuesday night, at Chittenango, where it pulled out a 78-74 overtime victory over the Bears.
ESM caught the Bears at a bad time, as it was returning, refreshed, from a 12-day hiatus. That energy helped Chittenango overcome a 34-30 halftime deficit and grab the lead by the end of the third quarter.
They exchanged the lead throughout the fourth quarter. Continually, the Spartans were burned by Vincent Commisso, who led the Bears with a career-best 32 points.
Still, ESM tied it, 65-65, and took it to overtime, where Greg Lothridge took over. The 6-11 senior forward kept getting the ball -- and kept converting, earning nine of his team's 13 points in the four-minute extra period.
In all, Lothridge had 25 points and provided balance as Sean Halligan hit on five 3-pointers to account for most of his 20 points. Jason Kondra and Tom Sullivan each finished with 11 points.
Returning home Thursday night, ESM faces a key confrontation with 8-4 Cortland, a team it beat back on Dec. 5 in the midst of its 7-0 start. Following that, the Spartans go to the Alliance Bank Tournament in Oneida this weekend.