Liverpool While it was nice that the Fayetteville-Manlius girls basketball team earned the championship of the Traci Zimmer Memorial Tournament at Central Square on Dec. 16-17, it still left something unfinished.
This was due to the fact that, while it beat Liverpool in the tournament final, it had to play them again three nights later. Though unusual, it was something F-M could handle, as it emerged from a back-and-forth battle to beat the Warriors a second time in a 37-33 decision.
After its fourth win in a row overall, F-M had to confront a Liverpool side it beat 39-31 in their first encounter. Like the original, the rematch would be in doubt until the final seconds.
Late in the first quarter, the Hornets trailed 9-6, but Rachael Miller's 3-pointer launched a 7-0 run to close the period. Just as quickly, though, F-M went cold, going more than seven minutes without a point in the second period.
Only a persistent defense kept the Hornets within range during that drought, and late baskets from Madison Beck and Charlotte Beers helped F-M go to the break only down by a field goal, 19-17.
They traded scoring spurts again in the third period, and F-M was again behind, 26-23, when Erica Assimon drained a 3-pointer to tie it. Thanks to a pair of free throws from Alexis Rios, F-M went to the final quarter nursing a 30-28 lead.
In a six-minute span, F-M applied enough pressure, holding the Warriors to a single field goal. Still, Liverpool had a chance to tie it in the final minute before Lyteshia Price's 3-pointer fell short.
Beers' free throw with 9.9 seconds left finally sealed it. No Hornets player reached double figures, but the production was spread around as Beck led with eight points. Beers, Miller and Kiley Shoemaker had seven points apiece. Liverpool's Rachael Windhausen led both sides with 11 points.
F-M plays just once in the next two weeks, a non-league game at Bishop Ludden next Tuesday afternoon that serves as the last tune-up before the Hornets meet Breanna Stewart and defending state Class AA champion Cicero-North Syracuse on Jan. 3.