As the calendar turns to 2008, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls basketball team is 6-3, fully prepared for a tough second half of the regular season.
The Hornets achieved the last two of these wins during the Vince Celi Memorial Tournament at East Syracuse-Minoa, where it won both of its games by comfortable margins.
By far, the more difficult test came in last Thursday's opening round, against Whitesboro. A big second-half push carried the Hornets past the Warriors 52-37.
F-M scored the game's first eight points, only to have Whitesboro draw even. In the second quarter, Warriors senior forward Meghan Soja took over, hitting on 11 consecutive points to push her team to a 24-19 lead late in the half.
However, the Hornets cut the margin to one, 24-23, by halftime, and went up for good by scoring the first nine points of the second half -- a 13-0 run in all. With strong man-to-man defense, F-M never let Whitesboro answer that run.
With the Warriors concerned so much about Torie Lee, Emily Trapani stepped up, leading the Hornets with 18 points. Amy Cameron had eight points, while Lee and Morgan Axenfeld produced six points apiece.
ESM followed on the court, meeting Onondaga in its opening-round game. It proved to be a close affair, but the Spartans lost to the Tigers 44-39.
After slow starts from both sides, ESM stayed within sight the entire game, pushed into contention by Alexandra Casella, who finished with 17 points. Becky Teschler added six points.
However, OCS would stay in front, mostly with the help from its pair of stars. Lindsay Abbott and Geena Brady each finished with 16 points, with more than half of those points (nine from Abbott, eight from Brady) coming from successful free throws.
So in Friday's action, F-M faced Onondaga in the finals, while ESM met Whitesboro in the consolation game.