At least in the early stages, the Cazenovia girls basketball team is showing every intention to challenge for the OHSL Liberty division regular-season title again - even as its top player is forced to sit out for a while.
In the second quarter of the Lakers' season-opening 53-38 win over Bishop Ludden on Dec. 10, senior forward Ashley Stec, already signed to attend Manhattan College in the NCAA Division I Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, suffered an ankle sprain.
Cazenovia head coach Steve Miles said that Stec is expected to miss at least two weeks of action, but should be back in time for some key league contests in January.
Meanwhile, Caroline Franz has replaced Stec in the starting lineup, and the Lakers continue to flourish. In its only action of the week, Cazenovia went to Skaneateles last Tuesday and beat those other Lakers 62-38.
A steady, productive attack helped Cazenovia take control in a fast-paced first quarter, leading 23-15 at the end of it. Gradually, the defense took hold, too, especially in the third period, when it held Skaneateles to four points and expanded its lead to 52-28.
Raeanne Clabeaux continued her fast start, setting a career mark with 22 points that included nine field goals, while Ellen Burr worked his way to 16 points. Skaneateles could not concentrate on them, either, as Colleen Dougherty and reserve Maggie Carpenter put up nine points apiece.
In that win over Ludden, Clabeaux had established herself as a new force with 19 points, while Carpenter put up 12 points and Burr added 10 points. This came just three weeks after Clabeaux and Burr, as starting defenders, helped Cazenovia's field hockey team win the state Class C championship.
Cazenovia's boys team still looked for its first win of the season, but could not keep up with Skaneateles last Tuesday in a 65-49 defeat at Buckley Gym.