A week after taking a 36-point loss to Cicero-North Syracuse (and watching Breanna Stewart pull off a dunk during that defeat), the Baldwinsville girls basketball team completely turned things around.
The Bees earned its best win of the season - and gained a huge amount of confidence for the upcoming Section III Class AA playoffs - by going to Fayetteville-Manlius Thursday night and, led by sisters Claire and Maggie Monnat, knocking off the Hornets 60-55.
Even though F-M possessed a 12-2 record, B'ville felt like it could increase the pace and cause the Hornets some stress. And in the first half, the Bees pulled this off beyond expectations.
Not only did B'ville's defense force F-M into mistakes, it also found open space to hit plenty of outside shots, nearly doubling the Hornets' total as it roared to a 39-21 halftime lead.
That could not last the whole night, and sure enough F-M did make a big second-half push, chopping away at the Bees' margin, but not able to fully catch up.
Between them, Claire and Maggie Monnat hit seven 3-pointers as Claire amassed 24 points and Maggie finished with 17 points. They didn't work alone, either, as Liz Giromini threw in 12 points and Angelica Romeu contributed six points.
In terms of buzz, though, nothing the Bees did the rest of the season - save a run to the sectional championship - might top what it witnessed back in that CNS game. The crowd at Baker High School's gym saw Stewart, who has made a verbal commitment to Connecticut for 2012, make a steal and finish off a dunk - a rare sight in the women's game.
Maybe inspired by that, the Bees rested and worked, then went to Oswego last Wednesday and had a solid all-around effort to beat the Buccaneers 47-33.
Stifling on the defensive end, B'ville forced a string of first-quarter turnovers, which led to points and a 19-3 edge. By halftime, it was 29-9, and though Oswego would make a late recovery, the Bees were safe.
Maggie Monnat poured in 19 points as her sister, Claire, finished with 14 points. Giromini added six points. Oswego's Courtney Louis led her side with 12 points.