A frustrating four-game skid to open the season ended in an emphatic way for the Chittenango girls basketball team.
The Bears shut down reigning Section III Class A champion Mexico on Friday night, beating the Tigers 43-25.
Chittenango would outscore Mexico in every quarter, going ahead 14-8 in the opening period.
And while the Bears would cool off on the offensive side, its defense never let up, holding the Tigers to 11 total points in the second and third periods as the margin grew.
Haley Landers led Chittenango with 12 points, while Alanna Haines added 10 points. Emily Baker and Kaitlin Antelmi each had six points, with Carolann Curado picking up five points.
As this went on, Chittenango's boys team was going to Mexico and, improving to 3-3 on the season, prevailed 55-53 in the most dramatic way possible.
With the score 53-53 and the clock running down, Cavanaugh Chaires took a pass from Brendan Galek and, using a fake, took a leaning jumper that swished through the net as the buzzer sounded.
All this stunned Mexico, for it had tied the game moments earlier on an offensive rebound basket at the tail end of an exciting evening of action.
Steady play on both ends allowed Chittenango to sneak into a 24-20 halftime lead. The margin stayed the same until the fourth quarter, when Mexico quickened the pace and set up the exciting finish.
Galek, aside from his winning pass, had 15 points to lead both sides. Devin Christopher had 12 points, while Mike Scott (11 points) and Mike Moon (10 points) also hit double figures. Chaires had seven points. Tim Forbes (14 points) and Pat Twiss (13 points) led Mexico's effort.
Both Chittenango teams faced tough tests Tuesday against Cortland, its last action prior to the holiday break.
Sure enough, the boys Bears had difficulty generating offense in a 65-35 loss to the Purple Tigers. They were tied, 14-14, through one period, but Chittenango got just 15 total points in the next two periods as Cortland more than doubled that output.