All season long, there wasn't any doubt that the Fayetteville-Manlius girls basketball team was going to garner a high Section III Class AA playoff seed, but the prospect of the boys Hornets joining them in the post-season appeared quite dim.
That has changed now. The F-M boys are charging as it went to Camillus Friday night and continued West Genesee's sudden slide with a 59-55 victory, just as the girls were back home at the "Hornets' Nest" prevailing 60-45 over the Wildcats and improving its mark to 12-2.
It's clear that Tom Blackford's young Hornets are getting comfortable and confident. And it caught West Genesee at the right time, just as the Wildcats, once 11-0, were reeling from back-to-back defeats to Cicero-North Syracuse and Oswego.
On this night, F-M's defense, once a glaring weakness, took a starring role. It did a superb job containing WG's top player, Eric Spencer, holding him to 10 points while, at the same time, limiting two others starters, Corey Herrington and Greg Wadach, to just five points and one field goal combined.
Still, the Hornets only had a 37-37 tie going into the fourth quarter as neither team could get away. Finally, F-M went in front for good in the late stages, helped in no small part by the career-best performance turned in by Mike Palermo.
Whether hitting a trio of 3-pointers or draining 14 free throws, Palermo delivered as he finished with 27 points. No one else hit double figures, though freshman John Schurman earned nine points and Tomer Nesher added six points. Nick Wood led the Wildcats with 18 points.
It was supposed to be an easier contest for the F-M girls, since West Genesee entered the game with a 4-10 record. But the two sides went through a wild, high-scoring first quarter, the Hornets only leading 20-18.