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Girls Hornets hold off B'ville, move to 5-0

All the wrong things were happening to the Fayetteville-Manlius girls basketball team in the final minute of Tuesday night's game at Baldwinsville.

Up by a point, the undefeated Hornets saw its best player, Emily Trapani, foul out, and it missed two front ends of one-and-one free-throw chances, all of which gave the Bees a chance to win in the closing seconds.

But with one clutch play, Ali Pliszka helped F-M pull out a 47-44 victory and move to 5-0 on the season.

Trapani had, at times, carried F-M's offense. The four-year senior forward's eight consecutive points in the second quarter helped the Hornets erase a 23-15 second-quarter deficit, and she continued to strike in the second half, despite constant double teams from B'ville's defenders.

Trapani had recorded 22 points by the time she went to the bench with her fifth foul with 49.2 seconds and her team ahead 45-43. Maggie Monnat sank a free throw to make it 45-44, and then the drama really kicked in.

Alexis Rios and Charlotte Beers both were fouled. Both of them missed foul shots, giving the Bees new life as, with 19.2 seconds left, B'ville called a time-out to set up what it hoped would be a winning basket.

Instead, when Claire Monnat attempted a pass to the middle, Pliszka stepped in front of it and made the clutch steal. Fouled with 4.8 seconds left, Pliszka made both free throws to build the margin to three, and a desperation shot by the Bees fell short at the buzzer.

It was no small irony that a steal would be the game's crucial play, for it was a series of steals from Claire Monnat that helped B'ville go into the lead and keep it for much of the first half. Monnat finished off the plays, too, getting 18 points to lead her side.

Ultimately, F-M cut down on the turnovers in the second half and, when Trapani was covered, teammates like Beers and Pliszka (eight points each) would get key baskets.

F-M returns to action next Monday at the Oswego Holiday Tournament, meeting Mexico in the first round. There could be a rematch with the host Buccaneers (whom F-M beat in the Dec. 5 finals of the Jamesville-DeWitt Tip-Off Tournament) in Tuesday's finals, should both teams win.

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