Liverpool boys knock off Auburn, Corcoran

Still right in the middle of the CNY Counties League National division regular-season race, the Liverpool boys basketball team earned a pair of strong victories last week to move its league mark to 7-1.

The Warriors, who are 9-6 overall, earned its best road win so far by going to Auburn last Tuesday and beating the Maroons 61-52.

They played a 13-13 first quarter, but the Warriors started to assert itself in the second period, outscoring Auburn 15-9 and seizing a 28-22 advantage at the break.

Liverpool's defense continued to excel in the third quarter, keeping the team in front. Then, in a fast-paced final period, Auburn's talented brother tandem of Mike Granato (19 points) and Nick Granato (17 points) made plenty of big shots, but the Warriors kept answering them.

Ian Hamm worked inside for 19 points to lead Liverpool's winning effort. Mike Russo stepped up for a season-best 11 points as Ben Peet threw in 10 points. Both helped take pressure off Adam Misener and Connor Rogers, who finished with six points apiece.

Then Liverpool returned home Friday to face Corcoran. It proved exciting and fast-paced from start to finish, with the Warriors rallying late for a 79-74 win over the Cougars.

Neither side played much defense in the first quarter as Liverpool made every kind of shot, yet still only led 27-21 when eight minutes were done. The pace remained fast the rest of the half as Corcoran closed the gap, leaving the Warriors only ahead 45-43 at the break.

In fact, the Cougars sneaked in front, 57-56, before the fourth quarter began. Liverpool didn't crack, though, reclaiming the lead and, led by Rogers and Hamm, hanging on in the homestretch.

Rogers, overall, had a season-best 26 points, while Hamm worked inside for 24 points and, combined, the pair converted 12 free throws. Misener earned most of his 14 points from four 3-pointers. Corcoran put four players in double figures - Shaquille Breland (16 points), Shakem Buckmon, Brandon Reed (13 points each) and Henry Sullivan (11 points).

Liverpool won't play at home again until its Feb. 18 regular-season finale against Cicero-North Syracuse. Road trips to Rome Free Academy on Tuesday, along with next Tuesday's trip to Henninger, will precede that clash with the rival Northstars.

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