Basketball Spartans both ousted

Though delayed a day, the East Syracuse-Minoa girls basketball team still found its way up north to face Fulton in last Saturday's opening round of the Section III Class A playoffs.

It turned into an exciting, high-spirited contest, but just as what would happen in volleyball later that night, the Red Raiders would come out on top, beating the Spartans 59-51.

ESM, the no. 9 seed, had to wait 24 hours for the trip north, since Friday's snowstorm forced a postponement.

The delay did little to affect the Spartans' game, though, as it traded baskets with the Red Raiders throughout the first quarter and inched into a 15-14 lead.

If the game slipped away anywhere, it came in the next two periods. ESM had enough cold spells to allow Fulton a chance to zoom in front -- which it did. By the time the third period ended, the Spartans were down 41-34.

As it had done all season, ESM battled to the last seconds. Becky Teschler, with 10 points, led a balanced attack where Arnela Mesic had eight points, Mallory Buckley seven points and Alex Casella six points.

Still, Fulton came out on top, advancing to meet top seed Whitesboro behind freshman Ashlynn Palmitesso's total of 18 points. Her teammate, Mikayla Kemp, added 12 points.

ESM closed out its season with a 9-12 record, not bad for a group that had just two seniors, Ashley Bonaventura and Carissa Ficarro. Cassella, Teschler, Buckley, Mesic and Olivia Luciani all return in 2009-10 as the Spartans pursue a winning record.

ESM's boys, meanwhile, could not replicate the magic from its first-round playoff shocker at Indian River during Friday's quarterfinal against Whitesboro.

With its radar way up, Whitesboro quickly ended the Spartans' run in an 88-62 defeat. Before ESM could even settle down, it was behind, 26-10, after one period, forced to catch up as the Warriors pushed the tempo and stayed in control.

Sharif Nero would still get 17 points, while Andy Raymond earned 11 points. Both Lothridge (seven points) and Ken Cannon (two points) cooled off, though, and Whitesboro had 13 different players score. Junior Woodard led the Warriors with 25 points and Mike Ryan added 19 points.

Even with the loss, ESM had weathered all the turmoil and struggle of its early schedule and, at the end, left a permament mark on the Class A playoffs.

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