With their unbeaten record in jeopardy, the Marcellus boys basketball team once again leaned on the play of senior forward Jeff Watson to carry the team to victory over rival Skaneateles.
Watson responded with a stat-stuffing performance that included 17 points, five rebounds, nine steals and two blocks.
Overall, the Mustangs (5-0, 11-0) used a 12-0 run in the final two and a half minutes to get by the Lakers 50-42 Thursday night at Marcellus. Watson and junior guard Dan Heil were responsible for all 12 of those points.
The contest was a defensive battle from the start. Though Marcellus led for much of the OHSL Liberty division game, Skaneateles stayed within striking distance.
Both teams played with a lot of intensity and emotion. Players were diving all over the court for loose balls and hustling on defense. It was a classic rivalry game between the two squads.
"We knew coming in it was going to be a battle," Watson said. "It's always a tough game when we play Skaneateles and we didn't want to lose to them on our home court."
The game was low-scoring. Neither team was hitting many shots early, but they both did a great job of applying pressure and rebounding. That defensive pressure resulted in a 25-17 halftime lead for the Mustangs.
Skaneateles (3-3, 8-4) found their offense in the third period. Thanks to the play of senior Eric Richards, the Lakers used great defense and sharp shooting to climb back into the game and take its first lead late in the period, 31-29.
The Lakers carried their bid for an upset into the final quarter by slowing the game down and holding the Mustangs to a number of one-shot possessions. This play resulted in a 42-38 lead for Skaneateles with just over two minutes left.