Despite all the adversity it has faced late this season, the Marcellus boys basketball team still found its way to a 17-3 overall record and grabbed a piece of the OHSL Liberty division regular-season championship.
To get that, the Mustangs had to beat archrival Skaneateles Friday night -- and did so, riding a quick start to a 51-42 victory over the Lakers.
That result, combined with first-place Hannibal falling to Bishop Grimes, eventually created a four-way tie for first place as Marcellus, Hannibal, Grimes and Westhill all finished with 11-3 league marks.
Even without Will Fiacchi in the lineup for the second half of the regular season, Marcellus had used a combination of talent and grit to keep pace with the league leaders - as Skaneateles would find out.
From the very start, the Lakers were in trouble, shut down by the Mustangs' defense in a first quarter where it managed just five points.
Skaneateles would recover enough in the second period, staying within sight. Then it played its own strong defense in the third quarter, holding Marcellus to seven points and closing within 35-29 with one period left.
The Mustangs would hang on, though, as Joe Cornish stepped up in a big way, earning 15 points. Dan Heil Had 11 points, while Will Nolan got eight of his 10 points at the free-throw line. Steve Raven (seven points) and Scott Cotter (six points) were close behind.
As for the Lakers, no one could break out, as Nick Pesarchick led the way with 11 points. Brandon Barron (nine points), Tom Schoener (eight points) and Kyle McQuiggan (seven points) were close behind.
In the Section III Class B-1 playoffs, the Mustangs are the no. 2 seed and will face no. 7 seed Homer in Friday's quarterfinal round, a day after Skaneateles, as the no. 4 seed, hosts no. 5 seed Holland Patent in that same round.