For some basketball teams - especially at the girls high school level - the loss of a star player means instant disaster or, at the very least, a whole lot of struggle.
But the Cazenovia Lakers are defying that trend - at least for the time being, as without senior forward Ashley Stec it has won back-to-back games in convincing fashion.
The Lakers went into the holiday break with fresh confidence after going to Marcellus Tuesday night and, led by a big effort from Raeanne Clabeaux, beating the Mustangs 59-41.
Putting on lots of defensive pressure, Cazenovia augmented its early 18-10 lead by holding Marcellus to a scant three points in the second quarter. This gave the Lakers a 31-15 margin that it would generally maintain the rest of the night.
Clabeaux helped in that maintenance. Whether it was her tenacious defense or the outside shots that kept falling (including a pair of 3-pointers), Clabeaux stood out as she finished with 23 points.
Ellen Burr and Taylor Malmsheimer provided the help, as Burr finished with 14 points and Malmsheimer posted a season-best 12 points, including seven free throws. Melissa Lee led Marcellus with 11 points.
Next Monday and Tuesday, Cazenovia takes part in the Unadilla Valley Tournament, its last games before 2011 - when Stec is expected to return from her ankle injury to make the Lakers even more dangerous.