Northstars get revenge over Hornets

Now this is payback.

On Dec. 30, the unbeaten Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team was up by 10 on Fayetteville-Manlius with five minutes left in the finals of the CNS Holiday Classic, only to give up the game's last 20 points and take a painful 69-59 defeat.

Fast forward just 10 days, to Friday night's rematch between CNS and F-M, played this time in the cramped, loud and hostile "Hornets' Nest".

In a particularly satisfying case of revenge, the Northstars won 61-60, and did so in the exact same manner by which F-M beat them - namely, rallying from a double-digit deficit.

At one point in the third quarter, CNS was down by as much as 12 points, and was still behind 55-46 going into the final period.

Much of the time, the Northstars found itself watching F-M star Brian Zapisek dial up another big effort, as he finished with 23 points, most of it from five 3-pointers, as Mike O'Neil added 15 points.

CNS, though, proved to be in just the right position, especially when the Hornets tried to slow down the pace and decrease the number of possessions.

The caution backfired, as F-M managed just five points the rest of the way and also struggled at the line, making only one of the six free throws it attempted.

All this gave the Northstars a chance - and that chance wasn't wasted.

Zach Coleman, bottled up in much of that first game with F-M, was a bigger presence here, earning 20 points, while John Howell got 10 points and Anthony DelCoro earned eight points. Deyon Smith had six points.

Yet it was senior center Andy Falvey that would deliver the decisive blow in this comeback. CNS trailed by one, 60-59, and had the ball in the closing stages of regulation when it took a shot and missed - but Falvey got the rebound and, while shooting, was fouled with 14 seconds left.

Despite the noise in the gym from the F-M crowd, and despite his own past inconsistency at the line, Falvey connected on both free throws, giving CNS the lead and giving him 10 points on the night.

Still, F-M had a chance to win it, and got an open look in the corner - but the shot rolled off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

The Northstars, who ripped Oswego 99-38 earlier in the week, improved to 8-1 and will visit Nottingham Tuesday before returning home Friday night to face Central Square.

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