One period remained in last Tuesday night's big game, and the Cazenovia girls basketball team found itself with a real chance to knock off defending Section III Class AA champion Corcoran.
The Lakers, undefeated and no. 14 in the latest state Class B rankings, had kept pace with the Cougars all night long, only trailing by five as the third quarter ended.
But the dream would end there, as Corcoran took full command in the homestretch, leaving Cazenovia with a 61-41 defeat and the end of a four-game win streak.
Originally, the Lakers and Cougars were set to meet on Dec. 19 at Buckley Gym, but a ferocious winter storm forced scheduling changes.
Not only was the first meeting pushed back, it also got moved to Corcoran, with no word yet on where the Feb. 7 rematch will take place.
Regardless of venue, Cazenovia found itself trailing, 17-12, at the end of a fast-paced first quarter, the first time all season where its vaunted defense had found itself unable to prevent a series of baskets.
By halftime, the margin was 31-23, but the Lakers hung in there and played quite well in the third quarter, moving within 42-37, as the game went to the final period.
All that effort to stay close, though, wore Cazenovia down. And Corcoran, with a deeper bench and an experienced starting five (all of whom started a year ago, when the Cougars reached the state Class AA final four), would outscore the Lakers 20-5 the rest of the way.
In defeat, Kiley Evans produced 16 points, with Ellen Burr adding 11 points. Lindsey Smith (seven points) and Katie Mullins (five points) followed. Corcoran star Irene Hudson led both sides with 20 points and her teammate, Nadia Jackson, put in 14 points.
The Lakers return to action Monday afternoon at 2 p.m., meeting Madison County neighbor Chittenango in the opening round of the Fabius-Pompey Tournament, with F-P and Homer also in the field.