For four long years, the Bishop Ludden boys basketball has been on the wrong end of every "Holy War" encounter with Christian Brothers Academy.
Even with full rest and a burning desire for revenge, the Gaelic Knights could not change that trend Friday night at Onondaga Community College, falling again to the Brothers 50-40, the ninth consecutive time CBA has won in this rivalry.
To say that Ludden was eager to get on the court was quite an understatement. First, the Gaelic Knights carried vivid memories of a 49-27 defeat to CBA on Jan. 11 at LeMoyne College. Without Frank Smith, the Gaelic Knights scored the fewest points any team had ever put in any single game in this series.
What was more, Ludden hadn't played in 15 days since a Jan. 22 loss to Jamesville-DeWitt. A long break got longer when Fowler did not show up for last Monday's scheduled game in Geddes, adding to the team's frustrations.
At least for a while, Ludden's attempt to change the trajectory of its series with CBA worked, as the teams played through a close first half.
Several times, though, the Gaelic Knights saw go-ahead shots clang off the rim, and when Rick Montgomery went to the bench with three fouls in the second quarter, the Brothers changed its defensive approach.
Instead of its usual man-to-man pressure, CBA went to a full-court press, and at times Ludden had trouble advancing the ball against it. Frustrated, the Gaelic Knights, who trailed 25-20 at halftime, started to foul, as Smith got whistled three times in less than a minute early in the third period, sending him to the bench.
This came during a 14-0 run where CBA, in an echo of that last meeting a month ago, kept Ludden off the board for more than six minutes.