Accustomed to winning in recent years, the Marcellus boys basketball team knew the task in 2010-11 would be taller without a strong departing senior class.
However, new heroes have already emerged, such as Steve Raven and Chaz Hayes, who helped carry the Mustangs to a 63-55 overtime victory over Solvay in last Saturday's season opener.
It provided a small amount of revenge for Marcellus, as Solvay had gone to the Mustangs' home court in the opening round of last season's Section III Class B playoffs and prevailed 67-61.
Now the Mustangs had to deal with significant changes in the lineup, while the Bearcats returned seven players, including Dan Aiello and John Savo, from a side that went 9-11 a season ago.
Solvay, indeed, would double up Marcellus in a 14-7 first quarter. But the Mustangs pulled even, 20-20, by halftime, and spent the rest of regulation trading
baskets with the Bearcats as the tensions grew.
What became apparent was that Raven could not miss. Every time it was needed, the Mustangs guard knocked down a key basket, especially in the four-minute overtime, where he helped break a 51-51 tie with some big shots.
All told, Raven had 28 points, more than half of it from five 3-pointers. Hayes, keeping pressure off Raven with his inside work, finished with 16 points, his own career mark, while Mike Tross put up 10 points. Aiello led Solvay with 21 points, while Nick Leonardo got 10 points, Deon Knighton-Kearse eight points and Mike Avella six points.
Both Solvay and Marcellus have games this week against Jordan-Elbridge, with the Mustangs also playing league newcomer Bishop Ludden and the Bearcats taking on Bishop Grimes.