While it might have been nice for Camillus resident Buddy Wleklinski to invite his hometown team from West Genesee out to Christian Brothers Academy's 22nd annual Bottar-Leone Holiday Classic, he wasn't so happy with the way the guests behaved.
Unfazed by the hostile surroundings and a slow start, the Wildcats rallied to shock the state Class AA no. 14-ranked Brothers 55-50 in last Monday night's opening round for CBA's first defeat of the season.
Just the fact that CBA was playing was novel enough. It had not played since Dec. 13, when it beat Henninger at the Peppino's Classic -- a span of 16 days without a game. WG had its own challenges, having not played at home yet as it started 2-2.
The Brothers didn't seem to have any rust, though, aside from some uneven outside shooting. And on defense, CBA was quite sharp at the start, keeping WG off the board for more than five minutes, though it could only gain a 7-0 edge.
When senior Mike Goodman achieved a steal and lay-up with 3:22 left in that opening period, he surpassed 1,000 career points, and the game was stopped as Goodman received a standing ovation and the ball used to reach that milestone.
Yet all wasn't right, as point guard Stefan Thompson picked up three early fouls and sat for most of the first half. Without him, the Brothers' 11-point lead dwindled down to five, 25-20, by halftime, despite WG missing most of its free-throw attempts.
As the pace quickened in the third quarter, WG hung close, and CBA's frustration built to the point of Wleklinski getting a technical foul on the court just named in his honor. It took baskets by Thompson and Troy Bullock late in the period to get the Brothers back in front, 42-38, as it went to the fourth quarter.