For two days early last week at East Syracuse-Minoa, eight basketball teams - four girls, four boys - sought top honors at the annual Vince Celi Memorial Tournament.
And it was the girls Spartans enjoying the best finish, reaching the championship round before falling to Whitesboro 67-51, while the boys Spartans used a buzzer-beater from Ryan Dadey to salvage a third-place finish.
ESM's girls met Auburn in last Monday's opening round and used a big push late in the first half to work its way to a 58-41 victory over the Maroons.
During the second quarter, the Spartans (wearing pink jerseys to support Coaches vs. Cancer) went on a 13-2 run, and though Auburn closed to 30-22 at halftime, it could not keep ESM from reclaiming its double-digit margin in the late going.
Inside, Gabby Eure secured 19 points, and Auburn couldn't concentrate on her because Olivia Luciani was working her way to 14 points. Auburn's Anna Giannone led her side with 18 points.
Now the Spartans faced Whitesboro, who used a game-ending 8-0 run to rally past previously unbeaten Baldwinsville 54-48 and improve its own mark to 6-0.
It did not take long for ESM to find some trouble, as Whitesboro roared to an 18-8 first-quarter lead. The Spartans did settle down for a time, but Whitesboro used 23 points in the third quarter to pull away.
Luciani, with 15 points, and Eure, with 13 points, again had strong outings, but Whitesboro's senior duo of Allie Cady and Francesca Coutroupe topped them, as Cady earned 22 points and Coutroupe added 17 points. B'ville rolled past Auburn 47-23 in the consolation game.
ESM's boys could not make it out of the opening round against Mexico, a close affair that finally turned in the Tigers' favor during the fourth quarter of a 61-56 defeat.