SYRACUSE Perhaps this is not the same old Baldwinsville boys basketball team.
The Bees of seasons past may have, when confronted with a double-digit deficit against a familiar nemesis like Liverpool, faded away toward another frustrating defeat in another frustrating slog through the winter.
Yet this B'ville group did something different in Sunday night's Holiday Tip-Off Classic in the Carrier Dome, Trailing Liverpool by as many 11 points in the first half, the Bees roared ahead in the third quarter and, with late free throws, held on to beat the Warriors 68-65.
Nothing was secure until the final horn. After Willie Hython sank a free throw with 4.9 seconds to play to expand the margin to three, Liverpool drove hard to the basket, but could not get an open 3-point look to tie it as time ran out.
It was a different group of foul shots that began the Bees' turnaround. With time winding down in the first half and B'ville down 37-26, Kevin Drain tried a 3-point shot and, at the horn, got fouled.
Drain made all three of the ensuing free throws, putting B'ville back within single digits, and that momentum carried over to the third quarter, where the Bees outscored Liverpool 25-7, capped by Brett Charbonneau knocking down a contested 3-pointer as the period ended.
Much of that could be credited to Hython. Held to four points in the first half, the senior forward found open looks and kept on converting. Of his 21 points, 12 of them were in the third period.
"Willie really started taking over," said head coach Tim Solomon.
And the turnaround was evident on both ends. To counteract Liverpool's early surge of 3-point shooting (it made four of them in the first quarter), Solomon switched to a 1-3-1 defense. Suddenly, the Warriors found itself unable to get those same shots, and its lead vanished.