Within a matter of hours, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys lacrosse team's collective spirits sank -- then rose again.
When they popped Stephen Ianzito's right kneecap back into place on the night of May 9 after the injury suffered in that night's overtime win over Fayetteville-Manlius, the hope was that the senior captain would heal and return in time for the playoffs.
However, further tests showed that the initial fears were true -- Ianzito had a torn ACL. Thus, his season and high school career are over, and CNS had to find a way to carry on without him.
Somehow, the Northstars focused after this devastating blow, went west on Route 31 to Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium Tuesday night -- and won its second straight OT decision, this one 8-7 over Baldwinsville.
The Bees, like CNS, had lost a key player for the season when league-leading scorer Billy Ward went down with a broken collarbone April 30 against Liverpool.
Since then, the once-contending Bees had gone 1-2, and CNS would make things worse, even though B'ville got Evan States back in the lineup from a concussion suffered at Rome Free Academy on May 2.
CNS took a quick 3-1 lead, only to have B'ville answer it and forge a 4-4 halftime tie. All through the rest of regulation, the Bees and Northstars kept trading rare goals as the defenses settled in and made things more difficult.
For the most part, Mike Hamilton and James Haney carried CNS along. Hamilton, assuming many of Ianzito's midfield responsibilities, had a part in every scoring play as he earned four goals and three assists, while Haney earned two goals and four assists. Robbie Ashlaw added a goal, too.
Despite this, the teams were tied, 7-7, going into overtime. With 1:02 left in the extra period, sophomore Mike DeBottis took a pass from Hamilton and ripped a shot past B'ville goalie Jordan Marra to win it.
This negated a big night from Marra, who posted 15 saves, three less than CNS counterpart Anthony Puma. Andrew Ginter led the Bees' attack with a three-goal hat trick as States earned one goal in his return to action.