East Syracuse Basketball teams from East Syracuse-Minoa and Bishop Grimes remain unblemished - but not without some stress.
The girls Cobras were tested for the first time this season Friday night at Hannibal, but held off the Warriors 57-53 as, back home, the Grimes boys team routed Hannibal 70-34. Just down the road, ESM's boys avoided a possible letdown and moved to 5-0, zooming past Fulton 75-55.
By far, the highest anxiety involved the girls from Grimes, who had ripped through four early-season foes with a relentless 3-point barrage, especially from senior Amelia Heiselman, who drained 28 of them in those wins.
But Heiselman was not a factor on this night, Hannibal focusing all its energies on stopping her by using a box-and-one defense, followed by a man-to-man look, that always kept someone on Heiselman wherever she went.
On this task, the Warriors succeeded, as Heiselman only managed a single free throw on this night. Thus, other Cobra players had to set up on the offensive end.
They did so, especially in the early stages as Grimes roared out to a 20-10 first-quarter lead behind Jordan Vaught's eight points, which included a pair of 3-pointers, and Alex Guhin's six points.
Over the next two periods, the Cobras maintained that margin, Erannan Shattuck earning six points in the second period and the defense, including Heiselman, preventing any sustained push from the Warriors.
Up 42-31 going to the final period, Grimes had to hang on as Hannibal's strong inside game produced a comeback. Allie Taylor got 10 of her 19 points (she also had 15 rebounds) in the final frame, while Karolina Severova finished with her own double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Grimes would prevail, though, as Shattuck earned six more points in the homestretch to give her 13 for the night and Vaught worked her total to 21 points, a new career high. Guhin finished with eight points as Lauren Vaughan and Tina Hoag each had seven points.