On a single Tuesday night, three Marcellus winter sports teams saw their seasons end within hours of each other during the Section III Class B playoffs.
The most notable was the boys Mustangs stunned at home by Solvay 67-61 in the opening round, the full-strength Bearcats taking full advantage of Marcellus and its late-season woes.
Just a few weeks ago, when it knocked off top contenders Skaneateles and Westhill in back-to-back games, the Mustangs had reason to think it could win a sectional title.
But all those dreams crashed on Feb. 3 when, late in a win over Cazenovia, Will Fiacchi, the team's leading scorer and unquestioned driving force, broke a bone in his foot, sidelining him for the rest of the season.
Without Fiacchi, Marcellus still believed that, with the likes of Will Nolan and Steve Raven present, it could make a playoff push. But Solvay, beaten twice by the Mustangs in the regular season when Fiacchi was around, had other plans.
Through a high-scoring first half, the Bearcats hung in there, fortified by the shots that T.J. Fazio and John Savo were hitting and the inside presence of Dan Aiello. Marcellus countered with Chaz Hayes, who stepped up for a season-best 18 points.
Trailing 34-31 at halftime, Solvay turned things around in the third period, outscoring the Mustangs 18-10 to take the lead for good. And every time Marcellus tried to get close in the final minutes, the Bearcats answered and held on.
All told, Fazio had 23 points, making five 3-pointers and eight successful free throws. Savo and Aiello each had 14 points in support, while Jeremiah Cregan got seven points. Help also came from R.J. Lostumbo (five points) and Nick Leonardo (four points).
As for the Mustangs, Nolan finished with 17 points, just behind Hayes, and Raven had 11 points and Mike Tross earned six points. Marcellus finished at 12-7, and would always wonder what might have happened had it been at full strength.