With the pressure of maintaining a perfect record now gone, the Marcellus boys basketball team could just focus on the winning part -- but even that didn't prove easy.
Already short-handed without Will Fiacchi, the Mustangs also saw its starting forward Zach Barbaro, get sidelined before Friday's game against Bishop Grimes.
Barbaro's absence proved quite important as the Cobras started fast, withtood the Mustangs' mid-game comeback, then closed strong to knock off Marcellus 73-64.
Aggressive from the opening tip, Grimes sifted right through the Mustang defense throughout the first quarter, scoring at will and handing Marcellus a 21-6 deficit.
Recovering quickly, the Mustangs made up most of that margin by halftime, then traded baskets throughout an active third quarter, pulling within one, 50-49, going to the last period.
Grimes would have the last push, though, and if anyone stood out, it was the Cobras' Joe Basla, who hurt Marcellus with a triple-double of 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
This negated a balanced Mustang attack where Dan Heil led with 16 points and Steve Raven put home 14 points. Joe Cornish hit a trio of 3-pointers to account for most of his 13 points, while Will Nolan got 11 points.
As for the Cobras, sophomore Mike Stone led both sides with 20 points. Antron Irby matched Basla with 11 points as Steve Dillmore (12 points) and Mike Sugamosto (eight points) also had productive outings.
At 14-2, Marcellus is off this week, a chance to regroup and prepare for the regular-season homestretch that will be highlighted by a Feb. 6 visit to Westhill.