For the first time all season, the Hamilton boys basketball team had to deal with back-to-back defeats.
Following a loss to defending Class C champion West Canada Valley on Jan. 23, the Emerald Knights visited DeRuyter last Monday night and again fell backwards, falling to the Rockets by a score of 59-41.
Under the guidance of former Westhill and Cazenovia coach Todd Widrick, DeRuyter has gone from a solid program (it went 13-9 a season ago) into a bona fide contender, surging into the state Class D top 10 with a 13-1 record.
Knowing all this, Hamilton still got off to a solid start, matching baskets with the Rockets in an active first quarter and only being behind by one, 18-17, at the end of the period.
DeRuyter began to crack down, though, as it held the Emerald Knights to just six points in the second quarter and moved to a 32-23 halftime edge. That same thing happened in the final period, as the Rockets closed on a 13-6 run.
Up against one of the toughest defenses in all of Section III, Derrick Cenicola could only manage 10 points, but he led Hamilton as no one else got to double figures. Coley Graham had nine points and Josh Haswell added six points.
DeRuyter had a balanced attack where four players scored in double figures. Ethan Grime had 14 points, with Sean Rutherford (13 points), Cody Tiffany (11 points) and Brett Vosburg (10 points) close behind.
Hamilton fell to 9-5 on the season and faces another big road test Thursday at Sherburne-Earlville.