As it came off its first win of the season on Dec. 13 against Fulton, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team hoped that would become habit-forming.
However, when the Northstars came home last Wednesday to face Auburn, a terrible start proved the undoing in a 65-50 loss to the Maroons.
For much of the game, CNS navigated itself through Auburn's maze quite well, trading baskets and actually coming out in front.
However, that start proved impossible to shake off. The Maroons dominated on both ends of the floor in the first quarter and roared ahead, 27-8, turning the rest of the night into a futile CNS chase.
Brett Smith finished with 13 points, as Andy Falvey earned 10 points. Deyon Smith Jr., John Howell and Sean McKenna each had seven points. Auburn had Malcolm Bryant earn 15 points, Julian Richardson 14 points and LeRon Agee 11 points.
After seeing Friday's visit to defending Class AA champion Henninger snowed out, the Northstars made up the game Saturday afternoon and pushed the Black Knights hard in the course of a 60-51 loss.
They were tied, 12-12, after one period, but Henninger, led by Lamar Spinner (who finished with 20 points), pushed in front 27-22 before the teams went to halftime.
So it remained, without much variation, in the third quarter, but down the stretch the Black Knights got a bit of breathing space despite every CNS attempt to keep up.
Continuing to play at a high level, Brett Smith moved to 20 points, the same number as Spinner, with Falvey adding 13 points. Deyon Smith Jr. got six points. Kihary Blue and James Bardenett, with 11 points apiece, led the Black Knights along.
At 1-5 on the season, CNS would try and find some momentum during the course of its own holiday tournament, which starts on Monday and continues with Tuesday's consolation and championship games.