This proved to be a tall task, requiring a great second half of defense for the Lakers to upend the Warriors 40-31 and move forward.
Methodical and utilizing a punishing, physical style of play, Clinton, the no. 5 seed, dictated the early pace and forced Cazenovia into a crawl, exactly the kind of game it didn't want.
This led the Lakers to a 23-19 halftime deficit, its first crisis in the post-season and a chance to see whether Cazenovia had the mental fortitude to grind through this test.
As it turned out, the Lakers had plenty of fortitude, turning up its defensive pressure to an even greater degree and keeping Clinton from doing much the rest of the way. All the Warriors could manage was just four points in each of the last two periods.
This gave Cazenovia all sorts of time to get out in front and stay there. Dougherty and Evans carried a majority of the offensive load, as Dougherty earned a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Evans added 14 points. Hardke, Stevens and Kassie Kleine all were superb on the defensive end, stifling whatever hopes Clinton had of coming back in the late stages.
On Saturday, as Cazenovia was knocking off Clinton, Ludden was proving that, maybe, it paid to have a lot of time off.
Having waited more than a week to play last Saturday's Section III Class B-2 semifinal against Sherburne-Earlville at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, the Gaelic Knights flew into action and never halted until it had put the Marauders away in a 74-46 romp.
Starting out the B-2 tournament as a no. 6 seed, the Gaelic Knights shut down no. 3 seed Adirondack 46-25 in the quarterfinal round Feb. 15 at Boonville, then had to endure an eight-day hiatus before going to VVS.