The Christian Brothers Academy and Fayetteville-Manlius girls basketball teams entered the Section III Class AA semifinals Saturday at Liverpool High School with the same dream of reaching the championship round - but left with the same stark reality of a season brought to an end.
The no. 2 seed Brothers were in prime position against no. 2 seed Corcoran, only to see one big run by the Cougars make the difference in a 67-55 defeat.
Later that day, the no. 4 seed Hornets were putting a scare into top seed and defending champion Cicero-North Syracuse, but saw a second-half drought prove costly as it fell to the Northstars 55-41.
CBA went first, trying to advance past the semifinal round - something it couldn't do in each of the previous two seasons, beaten by Corcoran in 2008 and CNS last year.
Like many of the Cougars' opponents, the Brothers laid back in a 2-3 zone defense, determined to take away Corcoran's inside advantage and force them into jump shots.
That worked for a while, for even though the Cougars did hit four 3-pointers in the first half, CBA out-rebounded them, closing each of the two quarters on strong runs.
Led by Ellen Voorheis, who had eight points, the Brothers only trailed 23-22 at halftime, this despite Leanne Ockenden managing just a single basket while shadowed by 5-11 Corcoran guard Ayana Bradley.
In the third quarter, the two sides traded the lead six times, but it was that sixth occasion that would prove CBA's undoing.
Up 34-33 after a pair of Victoria Johnson free throws, the Brothers spent the rest of the period in full retreat. Corcoran, aided by timely rebounds off missed free throws, scored the last 10 points of the period and, overall, put together an 18-2 run that stretched into the fourth quarter.