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Bees put scare into Auburn in AA playoffs

Before it left the stage for the 2007-08 season, the Baldwinsville boys basketball team had one more service to offer.

As the no. 13 seed on the road for last Tuesday night's opening round of the Section III Class AA playoffs, the Bees nearly took no. 4 seed Auburn out of the tournament before settling for a 68-60 loss to the Maroons.

When Auburn raced out of the gate and put B'ville in a 25-11 deficit at the end of the first quarter, it looked to be a challenge far too steep to handle.

However, the Maroons cooled off as the Bees made mid-game adjustments to its defense and began to eat away at that margin.

It was 32-25 at the break, and B'ville continued to pull closer in a high-scoring third period. And due to a surge midway through the final period, the Bees even pulled into a 59-58 lead, threatening to pull off one of the season's biggest shockers.

But after an Auburn free throw tied it, B'ville missed a shot, and the Maroons' talented freshman, Nick Granato, hit a 3-pointer that kick-started a 10-1 run, from which the Bees could not recover.

Part of the reason B'ville stayed so close was the fact that Brett Botsford, who finished with 17 points, didn't have to carry too much of the load.

Three of Botsford's teammates reached double figures, as Chris Tomeny hit on four 3-pointers to account for most of his 14 points, Matt Colbert added 13 points and Ryan Perkins got 10 points.

Granato led Auburn with 17 points as the Bees never let Jimmy Pitts (13 points), Malcolm Bryant (11 points) or Damien Whitaker (nine points) get much traction.

Still, the Maroons moved on to face Liverpool in the AA quarterfinals while the Bees went home at the conclusion of a 6-15 season where it knows Botsford, Perkins, Colbert, Tomeny and Drew Nixon will graduate, which means a new starting lineup next winter.

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