Cicero First, the Liverpool boys basketball had to deal with losing 6-4 senior center John LaRue to injury, which depleted the Warriors’ inside game.
Then the Warriors started 0-4, and amid the slump head coach Jerry Wilcox was ousted, with Matt Jacobs taking over after a long stint as the JV coach.
However, some light finally began to shine on the Warriors. In Wednesday’s opening round of the Cicero-North Syracuse Holiday Tournament, Liverpool broke its skid with a 69-51 win over Villa St. Joe’s.
That set up Thursday’s final against crosstown rival Cicero-North Syracuse, who beat Victor (Section V) 50-44 in its opening-round contest. The Warriors’ quest for back-to-back wins was thwarted, though, as the Northstars pulled away in the second half and prevailed 70-44.
With a big crowd on hand, the Warriors again had a slow start, watching as CNS fought its way to a 17-13 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Liverpool’s defense would fare better in the second quarter, holding the Northstars to seven points, but it could not capitalize on the other end, and CNS still was up 24-19 at halftime.
Trying to avoid an unpleasant surprise, the Northstars took over in the third quarter, increasing the tempo and nearly doubling its point total as the margin grew to 46-31. And CNS would pull further away, its depth and talent too much for the Warriors to handle.
All told, 10 different CNS players scored and nine recorded field goals. Vaughndell Brantley led with 14 points, while Mike Tricarico came off the bench to produce 11 points. Another reserve, Brian Delmonte, matched Shakir Thomas with eight points as Logan Roberts contributed nine points.
Liverpool, which has LaRue back in the lineup, saw Tyler Bliss lead with 11 points. Abe Odum had seven points, with Caleb Taylor, Hector Oyola and Mike Russo getting six points apiece. The six points was, for Russo, a season low.