If the Baldwinsville boys basketball team wanted to build some confidence for 2008, then a strong showing in last week's Vince Celi Memorial Tournament at East Syracuse-Minoa would provide the stage to do so.
Sure enough, the Bees would prevail -- but it took a dramatic overtime battle with Onondaga to do so, as the Bees fought past the Tigers 76-68 in a terrific championship game on Friday afternoon.
B'ville would lead most of the way in a contest where OCS would offer chase and catch up ---only to go off course at the foul line at the worst possible time, giving the Bees a new opportunity it did not waste.
Giving up just two field goals in the game's first seven minutes, the Bees went ahead 13-5, then saw that margin disappear before an 11-0 run to close the first half gave B'ville a 33-22 edge going to the locker room.
Try as it could, the Bees could not completely contain OCS two-sport star Latavius Murray, who is going to Central Florida on a football scholarship next fall. Murray finished with 24 points and helped The Tigers overcome the Bees' double-digit edge by the late stages of the third quarter.
Again, the Bees built the lead to seven, 50-43. Again, the Tigers came back, using a 10-2 run to gain its first lead, 53-52, midway through the fourth quarter.
From there, the two sides swapped the lead throughout the rest of regulation. Free throws by Teddy Zabel (for the Tigers) and Brett Botsford (for the Bees) left B'ville ahead, 61-60, and fortunate that OCS had twice missed the front end of one-and-one free-throw chances that could have put the game out of reach.
Instead, with 2.9 seconds to play, Murray went to the line, his team down by one. Again, Murray missed a big foul shot, but he sank the second and, at 61-61, the game went to overtime.