With the Section III Class AA race thought to be wide-open, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team just might have a chance to make serious noise.
The Northstars went 8-13 a season ago, knocked out in the first round of the AA playoffs by Utica Proctor. Unlike many other contenders, though, CNS brings back three starters -- Andrew Falvey, John Howell and Deyon Smith -- giving head coach John Haas a solid nucleus around which to build.
Clearly, the Northstars were ready for a new season to start, as evidence by what took place in the first half of last Thursday night's 70-58 victory over Auburn.
In contrast to the familiar faces at CNS, Auburn, 10-10 a season ago, is getting used to a new head coach (Tim Darnell), and perhaps sensing this, the Northstars jumped on them and dominated the first half.
It was 18-9 after one period, and the Northstars' lead grew to 40-16 by halftime. The Maroons would settle down in the second half and start to find the basket with regularity, but CNS was productive enough to keep its comfortable margin.
Falvey led with 17 points, with Howell getting half of his 12 points at the free-throw line and Zach Coleman adding 11 points. Vaughd Bradley had seven points, with Smith and Riley Moonan each getting six points. Kenny Byrd, with 12 points, was the only Auburn player to score in double figures.
CNS would be home again Tuesday to face Rome Free Academy before going to the Fulton Savings Bank Tournament at Baldwinsville on Friday and Saturday, with the Northstars and Bees joining Central Square and Oswego in the field.