Both of the Bishop Grimes basketball teams were riding hot streaks and staying unbeaten as holiday tournament season got underway.
In maybe its biggest test of December, the Cobras went to Marcellus last Wednesday night and delivered a 60-46 victory over the Mustangs by taking full advantage of what the situation given to them.
To start with, Marcellus did not have senior point guard Will Nolan in the lineup. Nolan was still recovering from a wrist injury suffered in his team's Dec. 18 win over Cazenovia, and it was serious enough for the Mustangs not to risk further damage at this point in the season.
Eventually, the Cobras would take advantage of this, inching ahead in the second quarter and taking a 30-24 lead to the break.
Trying to change things up, Marcellus came out in a box-and-one defense in the second half, the intention being to keep Mike Stone, who had nine points at the time, from taking over.
It backfired. Junior center Mike Sugamosto took over in the unoccupied paint, getting most of his 16 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks after the break. Grimes scored the first six points of the half, built the margin to 36-24, and never let Marcellus get closer than seven points again.
Even with all the defensive attention, Stone had 11 second-half points to finish with 20 on the night, and point guard Tavon Moore added 10 points. Evan Pitonzo (eight points) and Kucjok Ater (six points) performed well, too.
By contrast, only one Marcellus player, Will Fiacchi (13 points), hit double figures as the Cobras' constant man-to-man pressure wore down a Mustang attack lacking its best ball-handler in Nolan.
Prior to facing Marcellus, the Cobras won a pair of one-sided decisions. Grimes met Jordan-Elbridge in a non-league game on Dec. 18 and completely smothered the Eagles in an 86-46 romp.