Even as the Cicero-North Syracuse hurdles toward a possible CNY Counties League National division title, it continues a pattern of erratic behavior in the homestretch of games.
There were, of course, the two games with Fayetteville-Manlius -- one where the Northstars gave up the game's final 20 points to suffer its only loss, then the rematch where CNS erased a 12-point second-half deficit to pull it out 60-59 at the wire.
The oddities continued in Tuesday's game at Nottingham. The good part was that CNS won again, topping the Bulldogs 60-54. The bad part was that a lot of needless stress emerged in the final minutes.
Both sides had success in the first half. CNS, down 12-10 after one period, started to pick up its pace and seized a 27-24 lead before halftime.
Staying aggressive, the Northstars controlled the paint, helped in no small part by the foul trouble for Nottingham forwards James Brown and Mabior Mayen, both of whom would foul out in the second half.
As a result, Zach Coleman flourished, pouring in 26 points, while Andy Falvey added 15 points. Combined, Coleman and Falvey got 12 of their points through free throws as Riley Moonan added six points.
CNS built its lead to 10 at one point in the fourth quarter, but nearly gave it away. It took 13 throws in the final 90 seconds and only made three of them, allowing Nottingham to creep back within four before the Northstars could put it away.
At least no such late stress could be found in Thursday night's home game against Central Square, where the Northstars blew out the Red Hawks 79-50.
Throughout the first half, CNS patiently worked its attack and built a healthy 34-19 margin. Still, Central Square was one good run from making it interesting, so the Northstars prevented that possibility with a 26-10 rampage through the third quarter.