Often when the Section III boys basketball playoffs roll around, some teams get placed in the category of "team no one wants to face".
Right about now, Bishop Grimes perfectly fits into that profile, having closed out the regular season with eight consecutive wins to earn the respect -- and fear -- of all possible post-season foes.
Already with a five-game surge by the time it met Skaneateles last Wednesday night, the Cobras further added to that total and got another spellbinding performance from Eric Ball to beat the Lakers 70-53 and get payback for a 60-55 defeat earlier in the season.
Grimes needed less than three minutes to put up 16 points in the first quarter and take the lead for good, and for the rest of the night Skaneateles was forced to give chase. The margin got to 22, 56-34, in the third period before the Cobras cooled down a bit.
The constant theme, all the way through, was Ball's ability to tear up the Laker defense. From drives to the basket to drilling six 3-pointers, Ball was unstoppable, finishing with 34 points, nearly half of the Cobras' overall output.
Joe Basla provided some help, hitting three 3-pointers of his own to account for most of his 11 points, while Mike Stone had seven points. Eric Richards led Skanetaeles with 15 points as John Eppolito (12 points) and Jake Tracy (11 points) closely followed.
Two nights later, the other Lakers from Cazenovia arrived, and Grimes was bent on avenging a 74-49 defeat at Buckley Gym back on Jan. 4.
Once again, that payback was attained, as the Cobras delighted a huge Senior Night crowd by overcoming Ball's early foul trouble and beating the Lakers 73-64.
In all, six seniors -- Ball, Frank Majka, Keith Kwasigroch, Mike Spina, Mike Landers and the injured Pete Penizotto -- were honored on this night, but the party nearly got spoiled early.