For a long while, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys basketball team had looked to get back to the fast, exciting tempo it had established back in the early stages of the season.
The Hornets finally got what it wanted in last Tuesday's game against West Genesee, delighting the home fans by beating the Wildcats 82-71 to improve to 8-3.
It helped, to be sure, that F-M was well-rested, while WG had played twice (and had lost both times) in Utica-Notre Dame's Juggler Classic the weekend before. This was the Wildcats' third game in four night.
Knowing this, F-M never let up its pace as the second half of its regular season got underway, even as it sailed to a 37-23 halftime lead.
Every time the Wildcats pushed, the Hornets pushed back, an effort that included Brian Zapisek earning 23 points, Mike O'Neil adding 21 points and Jack Giles sinking a trio of 3-pointer to account for half his 18 points.
This helped counter the balanced Wildcat attack where Colin Monroe got 14 points, Eric Spencer and Jack Conboy each earned 13 points and Joe Fazio added 12 points.
F-M's girls team, off a bad home loss to Cicero-North Syracuse on Jan. 16, went to Camillus last Tuesday night and beat West Genesee 53-38.
For much of the game, F-M's defense played at a high level, especially in a second half where it allowed WG to score just 16 points.
It helped F-M stay patient and balanced on the offensive side. Torie Lee had 13 points, matching what Wildcat star Alyssa Sutherland pulled off.
So the other players decided this matter, and F-M got more from them. Morgan Axenfeld and Emily Trapani each put up 10 points and Liz Towne earned eight points. Other than Sutherland, WG had no other player reach double figures.
Each F-M squad gets to play Corcoran Friday - the girls at home, the boys on Syracuse's south side.