Solvay pushes past Marcellus in girls hoops opener

It's one thing to carry over momentum from one game to the next - but perhaps it can be done from one season to the next, too.

Just ask the Solvay girls basketball team, who won six straight late in the 2009-10 campaign, including a Section III Class B playoff romp of Canastota (48-31) before falling to Clinton in overtime in the quarterfinal round.

Nine long months later, the Bearcats began a new season with four returning starters and a whole lot of confidence - something that was evident in Thursday night's 57-44 victory over Marcellus.

Led by senior Tessa Pucello and junior Abbey Jones, who finished with 20 points apiece, Solvay moved out in front midway through the first quarter and never trailed again, the host Mustangs unable to overcome the foul trouble that plagued its top returning scorer, Melissa Lee.

Both Marcellus (12-7 a season ago) and Solvay faced the same common dilemma going into the game - a lack of court time. Both sides had been sidelined all week due to the massive, four-day winter snowstorm, which caused the postponement of both teams' season openers on Tuesday - the Mustangs against Bishop Grimes, the Bearcats against Phoenix.

Given that, the quality of play proved quite good, especially from Pucello and Jones. Already with more than 1,000 points to her credit, Pucello pushed her team out in front in the first quarter with nine points, everything from a rebound putback basket to a 3-pointer.

And when the Mustangs closed in on Pucello, Jones found herself open for a series of inside baskets, all of which helped the Bearcats lead 19-8 going into the second period. It helped, too, that Lee, who could match with Pucello and Jones in the paint, sat with two early fouls and missed most of the first half.

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