Now operating without star center Heath Stone, the Chittenango boys basketball team still aimed to stand up against a pair of OHSL Freedom division foes.
When the Bears went to Fulton last Tuesday night, it required a full amount of defensive brilliance to rally from an early deficit and beat the Red Raiders 52-42.
Fulton led, 17-10, after one period, but Chittenango began to shut down Fulton's attack in the middle stages.
The Bears pulled within three, 26-23, at the break, then rendered Fulton ineffective with great perimeter defense in the third quarter, holding the hosts to a single free throw.
Chittenango went in front and stayed there, as several players stepped up to match Stone's missing production.
Adam Baidel led with 13 points, including three 3-point field goals. Chris Frascatore had eight points, while Brett Hart and Andrew Moth generated seven points apiece. Mike Major had Brandon Raymond each got six points and Ryan Bailey added five points. Rob Jackowski (nine points) was Fulton's top scorer.
Back home Friday night to face Cortland, the Bears continued to flourish with its smaller lineup, beating the Purple Tigers 58-43.
Even when Cortland jumped out to a 15-8 lead, Chittenango didn't fret. Instead, it cranked up defensive pressure and limited the Purple Tigers to just 12 total points in the next two periods, enough time for the Bears to start hitting shots and go out in front.
Frascatore led with 16 points, converting on four 3-pointers along the way. Bailey earned nine points, with Major earning seven points and Baidel getting six points. Kevin Shaw, with nine points, was Cortland's top scorer.
One more win would assure the Bears (10-6) of a winning record this winter, but it faces a big test Friday night when Bishop Ludden (11-3) pays a visit.