Once again, the Baldwinsville girls basketball team moved from good to bad parts while on its way to a second-place finish at the East Syracuse-Minoa
Just to reach the final, the Bees needed a big fourth quarter -- and success at the free-throw line -- to pull out a 61-51 victory over host East Syracuse-Minoa in Monday's opening round.
Neither side had a lead of more than four points throughout the game's first three periods. One small run met another, and the Bees' only saving grace was that it was putting some of ESM's key players, including Chelsea Medler (12 points) and Becky Teschler (nine points), into foul trouble.
So while B'ville trailed, 39-35, going into the final period, it used increased defensive pressure to force turnovers and baskets on the other end, then watched Medler and Teschler foul out.
Of Claire Monnat's 20 points, 15 of them came in the second half, and 10 of them were successful free throws as B'ville outscored ESM 26-12 in those final eight minutes. Maggie Monnat added 16 points, while Liz Giromini got seven points. Lauren McVey, Meg Collins and Julia Engels each had six points.
In the championship game one day later, B'ville faced Whitesboro, who defeated Auburn 64-52 in the other half of the opening round.
For the most part, the final was evenly played, but one bad stretch by the Bees proved to be the difference in a 49-38 loss to the Warriors.
Since both teams like to apply defensive pressure, it took a while for the baskets to come. B'ville did a slightly better job on that front, especially in the second quarter, and sneaked into a 17-16 lead before halftime.
But it all changed, drastically, after the break. Whitesboro turned to Allie Cady and Francesca Cotrupe, and together they pieced together a 19-8 dash through that third quarter, a spurt which the Bees could not answer.
Claire Monnat still finished with 15 points, with Maggie Monnat adding 12 points. Cady (the tournament MVP) finished with 21 points and Cotrupe got 17 points.
With a 4-4 record, B'ville resumes action on Jan. 8, when it visits Auburn.