So it's official - the East Syracuse-Minoa boys basketball team will be part of the Section III Class A playoffs.
Now it's just a matter of trying to earn a winning record in 2009-10 after the Spartans moved to 8-8 on the season Friday night, beating Fowler 63-60 in yet another close and exciting contest.
All night long, ESM had to deal with Fowler center Malcolm Jones, who would have his way in the paint, producing 25 points. Jones' work helped Fowler maintain the lead through much of the first three quarters.
Still, the Spartans, by having its entire starting five contribute, hung close all the way. Thus, it only trailed 50-46 going to the final period.
And ESM would move in front in the fourth quarter. With the score 61-60, the Spartans made a key stop to keep its slim lead, and Sharif Nero was fouled with seven seconds left.
Nero, who led his team with 18 points, hit both free throws, and Fowler could not hit a tying 3-pointer as time ran out.
Aside from Nero, Greg Raab, with 12 points, and Josh Stuper, with 10 points, hit double figures, while Quadear Mike earned nine points and Joe Greco added eight points.
As this went on, the ESM girls team moved to 9-6 on the season with relative ease, going to Fowler and rolling past the Falcons 64-26.
The Spartans used an 18-3 run through the second quarter to break the game open, and outscored Fowler 37-9 through the second and third periods.
Olivia Luciani nearly matched Fowler by herself, finishing with 21 points. Mallory Buckley had 10 points, while Chelsea Medler gained nine points. Kayla Russell and Nikki Czajak each had six points.
Both ESM teams meet Fulton on Tuesday night, with the boys taking on Homer on Senior Night Friday.