Put to two major tests during last week's Oswego Holiday Tournament, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls basketball team handled itself quite well for half of the task.
During last Monday's opening round, the Hornets took on Class A title contender Mexico and recorded an impressive 49-40 victory over the Tigers.
From a defensive standpoint, F-M's main concern going into the game was how to handle Mexico's talented pair of twin senior forwards, Evie and Angie Josbena.
As a whole, the Hornets did a solid job of containment, holding Evie to 10 points and Angie to eight points. Though guard Cassi Hall tried to make up for its with 18 points, all from six 3-pointers, it wasn't enough.
In the pivotal second quarter, F-M, down 12-10, made up for it by doubling Mexico's output and seizing a 24-19 lead. The margin remained stable until the fourth quarter, when the Hornets outscored the Tigers 12-6.
What was most encouraging was that F-M didn't need Torie Lee to light it up. Lee, hounded by Mexico defenders all game long, got just nine points, but Emily Trapani got lots of open looks and took advantage of them for 19 points, while Morgan Axenfeld picked up 10 points.
This led the Hornets to Tuesday's final against the hosts from Oswego, who barely got past Section X power Malone 48-47 in its opening-round game.
Trying to avenge a Dec. 5 loss to the Buccaneers in the Jamesville-DeWitt Tip-Off Classic, F-M fell into the same trap it did in the first meeting and never full recovered, taking a 46-37 defeat.
Back in that first meeting, Oswego got off to such a quick start that the Hornets never got itself settled. Somehow, it happened again.
F-M got just one field goal in the first quarter, which allowed the Bucs to build a 16-2 advantage. Somehow, the Hornets regrouped and, over the next two periods, gradually got closer, holding Oswego to five points in the third quarter.
All that work took a toll, though, and the Hornets, down 31-27 with one period to play, could not keep up as the Bucs gradually reclaimed its margin.
Lee, with 15 points, was the lone F-M player to score in double figures as Trapani got just seven points this time around. Oswego's senior star, Cari Reed (who got her 1,000th career point in the first F-M game), led both sides with 20 points.
F-M will be home Tuesday night, putting its 6-2 mark on the line against Nottingham before Liverpool visits next Friday.