Just the right combination of rest and practice seemed to serve the Canastota girls basketball team quite well.
For when the Raiders resumed play in last Saturday's game against Sauquoit Valley, it broke a two-game skid by playing superb defense in a 39-26 victory over the Indians.
Canastota (10-2) needed that defense, too, especially in the first half. A shaky offense that had led to back-to-back defeats to Sherburne-Earlville and Waterville took a while to get moving again.
In the meantime, the Raiders shut down Sauquoit, only allowing just a single free throw in the second period, which produced a 12-6 advantage.
Slowly, Canastota began to find the basket in the second half and pulled away. Alicia Hibbard and Shea Foster worked inside, as Hibbard earned 16 points and Foster 13 points, while Alexis Havens had eight points.
A night earlier, the Canastota boys team hosted Cooperstown and had one of its best offensive efforts of the season -- yet still lost to the Redskins 81-71.
A back-and-forth first half saw Cooperstown sprint to the front, then watch the Raiders pull within three (31-28) at the break. The Redskins heated up in the third period, though, outscoring Canastota 25-14.
In a late rush, the Raiders saw Billy Marsh earn 24 points, while Greg Zupan earned 14 points. James Mason had nine points as Josh Garcia got eight points, with Jeff Merrell and Keith Casolare picking up seven points apiece. On Cooperstown's side, Jeff Flynn had 22 points and Kyle Liner 21 points, with Jeremiah Ford (16 points) close behind.
Both of Canastota's teams meet Mount Markham this week, with the girls Raiders also hosting Cooperstown on Friday after the boys visit Sauquoit on Thursday.