Cicero Charging down the stretch, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team made it difficult for Henninger on Thursday night, but could not quite complete the rally.
Instead, the Black Knights held on to beat the Northstars, 59-54, in a clash of the last two Section III Class AA champions. This put a halt to CNS's three-game win streak.
Henninger was playing its third straight road game, and in all would play five in a row away from its north side home until a Jan. 6 showdown with Fayetteville-Manlius, which comes right after the Northstars visit F-M earlier that week.
As for now, the two powers were meeting each other, and the Northstars endured a sloppy opening stretch where it turned the ball over and watched the Black Knights dominate on the boards.
Still, CNS erased a 21-14 deficit in the second quarter, at one point moving ahead 26-24 on Bryan Quartier's 3-pointer before Henninger regained a slim 30-29 edge at halftime.
Then the Black Knights appeared to get away in the third quarter. It picked up man-to-man defensive pressure and forced CNS into all sorts of mistakes, which led to baskets on the other end. Henninger had runs of 7-0 at the start of the period and 8-0 at the end of the period.
So as the fourth quarter began, the Northstars trailed, 47-33, but gained an advantage when two of Henninger's starters, Tevin Chisholm and Kavon Delee, went to the bench with four fouls.
That, combined with a need to be more aggressive, helped CNS eat into the Black Knights' margin. Quartier, Vaughndell Brantley and Logan Roberts all hit 3-pointers, and Roberts' trey with 1:57 to play made the score 51-49.
CNS could not get one more defensive stop, though. Henninger's Marquies Young hit a rebound basket on the ensuing possession and scored again with 51 seconds left, and Tommie Spinner's steal and layup made it 57-49, all but putting the game out of reach.