While it always knew it could defend, the Cazenovia girls basketball team got to show off the other part of the game on its way to winning the Fabius-Pompey Holiday Tournament -- at least for the first part, anyway.
For last Monday's opening round, the Lakers drew Chittenango, its next-door neighbors from Madison County. Leading all the way, Cazenovia beat the Bears 60-45.
Chittenango was not afraid to push the tempo in the first quarter. But Cazenovia went right with it, eventually gaining a 22-16 lead.
After spending the next two periods nursing that advantage, the Lakers gradually wore the Bears down, holding them to just seven points in the fourth quarter.
Katie Mullins stepped up in a big way, setting a career mark with 18 points as Kiley Evans threw in 16 points. Lindsey Smith, with 10 points, also broke into double figures as Kassie Kleine and Tori Widrick earned seven points apiece. For Chittenango, Jessica Antelmi had 17 points and Kayleigh Clark added 16 points.
In Tuesday's final, Cazenovia would meet host Fabius-Pompey, who edged past Homer 44-39 to get to this point.
Here, the Lakers reverted to what seems to be its normal form, simply shutting down the opposition as it earned a 45-25 victory over the Falcons.
Even as it waited to hit high gear on the offensive side, Cazenovia didn't allow F-P much room to operate, holding the Falcons to a scant 10 first-half points. The Lakers were strongest in the game's middle stages, building such a big margin that it didn't even need to score in the fourth quarter to win by a comfortable margin.
Evans, by herself, nearly matched F-P's entire output, earning 22 points. Mullins, with nine points, and Smith, with seven points, offered the help. The Falcons' Christi Gage led her side with 11 points.
So Cazenovia took a 6-1 record into a key early-season OHSL Liberty division match Tuesday against Bishop Ludden at Buckley Gym -- the first time these two have met since last year's dramatic Class B-2 final, won by the Lakers on Evans' 3-pointer in the final seconds. Cazenovia then hosts surprising Jordan-Elbridge on Thursday night.