Cazenovia boys basketball head coach Todd Widrick didn't want his team to make the same mistakes defensively that they made against Marcellus the first time they squared off in late December, when the Mustangs beat them in a hard-fought contest.
"The last time we met, we stayed man-to-man and I thought Marcellus really got a lot of easy baskets," Widrick said. "I didn't think we could match up man-to-man with them, so we played a little bit of a matchup zone this time around and tried to take their high-low inside game away."
Widrick's defensive change proved to be the right move, as his Lakers came out victorious with an impressive 62-49 win at unbeaten and state Class B no. 5-ranked Marcellus Wednesday night.
The Mustangs were one of just two undefeated teams left in Section III (the other was West Canada, no. 1 in the state Class C rankings) prior to the loss.
The Lakers' defense flustered Marcellus right from the start. Many of their possessions resulted in bad shots or turnovers.
Cazenovia clogged the inside, where the Mustangs are most dangerous, and forced them to take outside shots. With the exception of junior guard Dan Heil (who drained five 3-pointers) and senior forward Jeff Watson, no one on the Marcellus roster hit much of anything.
Coming into the game, Marcellus was averaging close to 70 points per game on their home court. Not only did Cazenovia hold them to more then 20 points below their average, but they also kept sophomore standout Will Fiacchi, the Mustangs leading scorer (14 points per game), in check, holding him to just six points.
Cazenovia (7-4, 2-3 league) was aggressive on offense. They penetrated right through the Mustang defense and got to the foul line in bunches. The Lakers did an excellent job of driving into the lane and kicking the ball out to the perimeter for a number of uncontested jumpers.