True, the Christian Brothers Academy girls basketball team won't have to worry about its OHSL Freedom division foes once the Section III Class AA playoffs roll around.
But the Brothers still want the league title -- and that quest got a lot more difficult following last Tuesday night's 61-42 loss to undefeated Cortland, which snapped a six-game win streak.
Off to a 10-0 start, the Purple Tigers had risen to the no. 8 spot in the state Class A rankings, beating quality foes like Jamesville-DeWitt and West Genesee along the way. And since the game was in Cortland, that only added to CBA's challenge.
Neither side budged through a 10-10 first quarter -- but in the second period, Shannon Finucane, Cortland's dynamic senior point guard, took charge.
With her combination of aggressive moves to the basket, all-out defensive pressure and pure hustle, Finucane hurt CBA in multiple ways. Of her 14 points, 10 of them came in that pivotal second quarter as Cortland outscored the Brothers 19-7.
Try as it could, CBA could not put together a run of its own to counter the Purple Tigers' big blow, even though Leanne Ockenden had 18 points and Sarah Paulus added 10 points.
In particular, senior guard Kayla Stroman, off strong back-to-back showings against Chittenango and Poughkeepsie Lourdes, cooled off in the face of the Cortland pressure, managing just five points all night.
Except for her second-quarter outburst, Finucane was content to be a distributor, as three other Cortland players hit double figures. Amanda Lawlor led with 17 points, while Deanna Bishop and Fawn Lolar came up with 11 points apiece.
CBA will be in the same neighborhood Friday night, looking to bounce back against Homer.