Both the Bishop Grimes and Hannibal boys basketball teams nearly slipped in advance of Friday night's showdown in East Syracuse that may decide the OHSL Liberty division regular-season title.
In Grimes' case, it meant blowing a big fourth-quarter lead before hanging on to beat Skaneateles 67-66.
Despite the Lakers' solid 12-6 mark, Grimes tore right through its defense in the first quarter to go in front, 23-15.
Steadily, the margin kept growing until the Cobras had a 52-39 lead going to the final period, at which point it may have started to look ahead to Hannibal -- and forgot that it still had to beat Skaneateles.
The Lakers promplty provided a reminder of the task at hand, tearing into Grimes' lead and almost catching up at the end before the Cobras would escape.
Only Mike Stone, with 23 points, got into double figures, though Mike Sugamosto (nine points), Antron Irby (eight points), Joe Basla (seven points) and Zach Vaught (six points) came close. For Skaneateles, Nick Pesarchick had 17 points and Paul O'Donnell added 12 points.
As this was going on, Hannibal (maybe looking ahead as well) had to make a serious second-half comeback to fight past Solvay 52-49. What mattered, though, was that both teams had made it through, and the big battle was at hand.