Hamilton's girls basketball team went through something on Tuesday night it didn't have to feel one time last season -- namely, a regular-season defeat.
New York Mills pulled off the beat, edging the Emerald Knights 50-47 in the Center State Conference opener to partially negate Hamilton's win in the Morris Tournament during Thanksgiving weekend.
Meanwhile, the Hamilton boys team opened its season against New York Mills a night later and never got close in a 66-43 loss to the Marauders.
From last season's 16-7 unit that lost the Section III Class D-1 final to Sackets Harbor, the Emerald Knights lost six seniors, including Derrick Cenicola, one of the area's leading 3-point shooters.
A new-look lineup would keep up with Mills for a while, only trailing 16-15 after one period despite the visitors' 12-4 start. But it all turned in the game's middle stages as the Marauders outscored Hamilton 40-22 in the second and third periods.
Ken Quackenbush, with 11 points, was the only Emerald Knights player to score in double figures. Cam Fisher and Coley Graham each had eight points, while Keith Upton got seven points and Mike Jones six points. Mills saw Fred Russ dominate in the paint with 17 points and 15 rebounds, while Jeremy Miller earned 15 points.
At the same time, Morrisville-Eaton (8-13 a season ago) was 1-1, as it beat Sauquoit Valley 52-48 before falling 51-42 to Waterville two nights later.
The opener against Sauquoit featured the Warriors overcoming an early 14-12 deficit with a second-quarter eruption of 29 points. Ben Thomas led that surge, getting 16 of his 23 points in that frame.
Incredibly, M-E followed this by getting shut out in the third quarter. Sauquoit's 18 unanswered points made it tight again, but the Warriors regrouped and matched baskets in the fourth quarter to hang on.