What the Cazenovia girls basketball team produced Tuesday night is the sort of effort that might make every future Section III Class B opponent worry.
Despite a key player ailing, and despite an opponent with eyes on the OHSL Liberty division regular-season title, the Lakers took over in the fourth quarter and beat Marcellus 56-40 at Buckley Gym.
Having lost to the Mustangs on Dec. 18, Cazenovia knew the quality of its opponent, and knew it would have to step up further, given the condition of the roster.
Just seven players dressed - and Ashley Stec, the team's leading scorer with 13 points per game, was ailing, which limited her minutes all night.
Still, Stec came into the game and, late in the first quarter, sank a 3-pointer, grabbed some rebounds and even blocked a shot. That, combined with 3-pointers from Taylor Malmsheimer and Raeanne Clabeaux, kept the Lakers close early.
Even when Marcellus grabbed a 22-14 lead late in the half, the Lakers hung in and, when Ellen Burr converted a three-point play in the waning seconds, went to the break only down 22-17.
Starting in the third quarter, Cazenovia began to dominate on the boards, rarely letting Marcellus get second-chance shots while converting plenty of their own.
That didn't have an impact right away, as Marcellus still led 34-33 going into the final period. But Cazenovia used a 12-0 run, with points from Clabeaux, Burr, Malmsheimer and Caroline Franz (who started in place of Stec), to take control for good.
In particular, Clabeaux picked up the scoring slack from Stec, who still had seven points in limited action. Hitting on all kinds of shots, Clabeaux finished with 20 points, 15 of them in the second half.
Burr didn't score for much of the first half, but still finished with 14 points, while Malmsheimer worked her way to 11 points.
Melissa Lee led Marcellus with 14 points, but fouled out, and Marie Temara had 11 points, though only two baskets in the second half as the Lakers went away.
With the win, Cazenovia improved to 10-4 (8-4 league), and will play Thursday night at Skaneateles.