CNS girls fall in AA semis to Oswego - again

A year had passed, and judging by the time, situation and eventual outcome, absolutely nothing for the Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball team had changed.

The Northstars were a no. 4 seed, moving through the Section III Class AA playoffs, looking to knock off top seed Oswego in last Saturday's semifinal round at Liverpool High School.

This was exactly the same script as 2007, when CNS came quite close to reaching the title game, falling to Buccaneers 57-54,

Now, it wanted a different ending. Instead, it got a maddening variation on the same heartbreaking theme with a score nearly identical to what took place 12 months earlier.

With a chance to tie or win the game at the end, the Northstars instead turned the ball over, leading to decisive free throws and a 58-54 defeat to Oswego in one of the season's most exciting games.

Having erased an early 15-point deficit, CNS led, 49-48, with less than three minutes left before a wild sequence put the Bucs in front for good.

Off a loose ball, the ball found its way back under the CNS basket, where Oswego's Christian Scaccia put in a lay-up with 2:01 left to put her team up 50-49.

Fouled on the play, Scaccia missed the free throw, but Nikki Carroll got the rebound and hit her own lay-up to make it 52-49.

Eventually, the CNS deficit grew to five, 54-49 before the Northstars' Nicole Dwyer drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 25.5 seconds left, cutting the margin to 54-52 with a lot of time left.

Carroll hit an open lay-up off a length-of-the-court pass with 22 seconds left to make it 56-52. Breanna Stewart answered with a basket with 14.2 seconds to play to get it to 56-54 before Vanessa Sheffield was fouled with 12.7 seconds left.

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