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Girls basketball Hornets roll to J-D tournament title

True, Emily Trapani has departed - but the Fayetteville-Manlius girls basketball team has a lot of familiar faces back for the 2010-11 season, and has every intention to challenge for a Section III Class AA championship again.

The Hornets traveled the short distance across town and made an impressive season debut in the 20th annual Jamesville-DeWitt Tip-Off Tournament, beating Oswego 50-28 in the opening round and knocking off Massena 63-39 in Saturday night's championship game.

In the last two seasons, F-M has reached the championship game (in 2009) and semifinals (in 2010). Both times, Breanna Stewart and Cicero-North Syracuse eliminated them on its way to back-to-back sectional titles.

Trapani, who topped 1,000 career points, did graduate, but head coach Scott DeForest returns every other starter, a core group that includes Alexis Rios, Bri Dolan, Ali Pliszka, Charlotte Beers and Kiley Shoemaker.

By stark contrast, J-D saw all five of its starters - Alyssa Gratien, Jessica Kramer, Nicole Ortega, Liz Beville and Theresa Hernandez - graduate from a 16-5 squad that reached the Class A semifinals before falling to eventual champion Cortland.

Events at the tournament reflected the state of the F-M and J-D programs. F-M first took on Oswego - a team that, like the Red Rams, had to replace its entire starting lineup. And those early jitters were evident as the Hornets held the Buccaneers to just four points in the first quarter and moved into a comfortable lead.

For a while, Oswego stayed within sight, but the Hornets' defense only got more effective, at one point holding the Bucs without a field goal for more than 10 minutes as it moved out to a 41-15 lead late in the third quarter and cruised the rest of the way. Eleven different F-M players scored on this night as Shoemaker, with 11 points, and Rios, with 10 points, led the way.

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