Jan 23, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
True, it took a while. And true, it involved weeks worth of missed opportunities on both ends, from both sides.
But the Marcellus boys basketball team eventually earned what it had waited 43 days to get – namely, payback against archrival Skaneateles.
Doing it required the Mustangs to go through two overtimes before it finally got past the Lakers 63-56 Saturday during the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge at Onondaga Community College.
Yet even a pair of extra periods was tolerable enough, so long as Marcellus avoided the same painful fate of that Dec. 11 encounter in Skaneateles, when it led by 10 with less than two minutes to play, but somehow lost 59-57 when the Lakers scored the game’s final 12 points.
Since then, Skaneateles had not lost, moving to 11-1 and tying Bishop Grimes and Westhill for first place in the OHSL Liberty division. Marcellus, meanwhile, had struggled to 8-5 and had endured a long stretch without injured point guard Will Nolan.
Now that Nolan was back in the fold and back in rhythm with his teammates, Marcellus was ready to face Skaneateles again, but had no idea how hard the work would be.
They traded runs throughout the first half, the Lakers leading 7-2 before the Mustangs went on a 10-0 run, seven of the points coming from Will Fiacchi. Marcellus led by as many as five in the first half and took a 25-22 edge to the break.
Throughout an uneven second half, neither team would trail by more than three points, thereby avoiding the extremes of the first meeting as the lead switched hands 12 times.
Another turnover by the Mustangs set up Kevin Rice for a pair of tying free throws with 38.1 seconds left in regulation to make it 43-43. And that’s where the crazy stuff started.
Nolan’s possible go-ahead shot in the final seconds flew long and missed the rim, causing a shot clock violation. With 1.6 seconds left, the Lakers threw a long pass – but it hit the OCC gym roof, giving the Mustangs a chance to inbound from that same spot near the basket. Fiacchi got a shot in the corner – but it also flew too long.
So it went to overtime. Both sides hit one field goal and one free throw in that first extra period, and it went to 46-46, setting up another climax that would not settle anything.
With 8.2 seconds to play, Fiacchi was fouled, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one, and the Lakers rebounded with its own chance to win it. Paul O’Donnell shot too soon, though, and from long distance missed as the buzzer signaled double overtime.
They were still even, 49-49, in the second OT when Nolan, left alone on the right wing, hit the game’s biggest shot, a 3-pointer with 2:02 left that finally put Marcellus ahead for good.
That basket, plus Fiacchi’s runner 40 seconds later, gave the Mustangs a bit of a cushion – and when the Lakers went cold, Marcellus clinched the victory by making nine of 10 free throws in the final 1:05, four each from Fiacchi and Steve Raven.
Overall, Fiacchi had 29 points, while Raven finished with 13 points. For the Lakers, Rice had 18 points and forward Pat Roberts added 17 points.
Having knocked Skaneateles out of first place, Marcellus could do the same Tuesday night at Westhill, its other main rival.