Already at 0-2 when the week started, the Vernon Verona Sherrill boys basketball team could not afford any further slippage -- not with a showdown against rival Oneida looming next week.
So the Red Devils had to feel as much relief as joy Tuesday night when it earned its first win of the season in a 59-55 decision over the Camden Blue Devils.
The two sides were tied, 15-15, through one quarter, but VVS took charge with a second-quarter offensive surge where it outscored Camden 22-12.
Still up by double digits, 49-37, going into the fourth quarter, the Red Devils had to hang on as the Blue Devils staged a furious rally behind Alex VanPelt (22 points) and John Gums (15 points), almost catching up.
But VVS had its own star turn from Joe Spinella, who hit on seven 3-pointers and set a new career mark with 26 points overall. Mitch Iseneker had 10 points, while Nick Rizzo (eight points) and Simon Pitman (six points) helped, too.
As this went on, Oneida took a three-game win streak to Holland Patent -- but saw the 0-4 Golden Knights rise up and stun them by a score of 60-59.
The Indians appeared to get out of trouble in the third quarter when, down 26-24 at the break, it put together its most sustained offense of the night and seized a 42-38 lead.
HP did not back down, though, staying right with the Indians until the homestretch. With 16 seconds left, the Golden Knights' Craig Schmadel hit a huge three-point play, putting his team ahead for good, and Alex Smith's free throws supplied the winning points.
In defeat, the Indians saw Matt Tamburro earn 13 points, while Mitch DuBois had 12 points. Keith Johnson had seven points as Trey Didio, Matt Mosack and Eric Riley got six points apiece. For HP, Smith had 22 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals, as Schmadel added 15 points and 10 rebounds.