In separate brackets, the Corcoran and Nottingham girls basketball teams wanted to advance ahead in the Section III playoffs -- but only one would make it to the second week.
That would prove to be the Cougars, who despite its 17-1 regular-season record only garnered the no. 3 seed for the Class AA tournament, where it sought its second sectional title in three years.
For a while Friday night, Corcoran had trouble with no. 6 seed Liverpool -- but a well-timed pep talk jolted the Cougars into action, and it rolled to a 55-32 victory over the Warriors.
Corcoran struggled to match the younger Warriors' energy level in the game's early stages, and it allowed Liverpool to sneak into a 16-16 tie.
Twice, Cougars head coach Jim Marsh called time-outs, trying to get his players' attention. Finally, on the third try, Marsh was more intense, asking for more effort. He got it, especially on the defensive side.
For more than nine minutes, Corcoran held Liverpool without a point, all the while going on a 20-0 run that stretched deep into the third quarter.
From there, the Cougars cruised to the win as Carrie Blunt picked up 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Coriesha Hickey got 12 points and five steals. Zephrah Pam added nine points.
Corcoran advanced to face Christian Brothers Academy in the AA semifinals Friday at 6 p.m. at Liverpool, with the winner to get Cicero-North Syracuse or Fayetteville-Manlius in the March 6 finals at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Nottingham, who had played Class AA teams all winter, moved down to the Class A bracket for the sectional tournament and, as the no. 10 seed, made an immediate impact.
The Bulldogs went north for last Wednesday night's opening round to meet no. 7 seed Indian River and used its size and quickness to deliver a 50-37 victory over the Warriors.