True, the Skaneateles boys basketball team's 65-59 defeat to Bishop Ludden in the Dec. 12 Holiday Classic at the Carrier Dome did not sit well, and may have hurt the Lakers' long-term chances to win the OHSL Liberty division.
But Skaneateles got little time to fret about it - which may have proved valuable, for it went to cozy Buckley Gym last Tuesday night and won its battle of the Lakers with Cazenovia by a solid margin of 65-49.
Both teams pushed the tempo early, and Cazenovia was not far off, only trailing 22-20. But Skaneateles made timely defensive adjustments and, over the course of the next two periods, only allowed 13 total points, allowing for a clean getaway.
Up 59-33 going into the fourth quarter, Skaneateles could relax and rest its starters. Pat Roberts reclaimed his usual form, the senior forward leading both sides with 20 points, while Kevin Rice got 16 points. Brandon Barron earned nine points and Jimmy Atkinson added seven points. Tanner Whiteman led Cazenovia with 15 points.
Then came Friday's game against Westhill, the reigning state Class B champions. But things were different now, as Skaneateles had played three times while the Warriors, replacing most of its lineup from 2009-10, still hadn't taken the court yet (two games had been snowed out).
What happened on the court only confirmed where both teams stood. Skaneateles, experienced and game-tested, toyed with the new-look Westhill lineup and did not stop until it had produced a 75-49 victory over the Warriors.
Pushing the pace early, Sknaeateles led 22-14 after one quarter. The margin remained steady until the third quarter, when the Lakers decided matters by nearly doubling Westhill's output in a 23-12 surge.
Four Lakers hit double figures, led by Roberts, who had his way against the smaller Warrior lineup and finished with 18 points. Rice, with 15 points, hit on three 3-pointers as Barron and Paul O'Donnell both finished with 12 points. Westhill's Nathan Nigolian led both sides with 22 points.