Despite a furious late rally, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls basketball team took a 60-55 home defeat to Baldwinsville last Thursday night in what could amount to a Class AA playoff preview.
Going in with a 12-2 record (and having seen its game against Utica Proctor postponed earlier in the week), the Hornets knew that the Bees would apply plenty of early pressure - and that's exactly what happened.
All through the first half, B'ville swarmed over F-M's ball-handlers, forcing a series of turnovers. On the other end, the Hornets could not keep sisters Claire and Maggie Monnat from converting with regularity.
This left F-M behind 39-21 at halftime, and it proved too much to overcome, despite a strong second half where Ali Pliszka hit four 3-pointers on her way to 19 points and Kiley Shoemaker posted 14 points. Charlotte Beers (10 points) and Alexis Rios (eight points) also had solid showings.
B'ville held on, though, as Maggie Monnat finished with 24 points and Claire Monnat earned 17 points. Combined, the pair made seven 3-pointers as Liz Giromini (12 points) gave them inside support.
A night later, the F-M boys team, who already have locked up a Class AA playoff berth with its late-season surge, kept it up by going to Baldwinsville and topping the Bees 74-53.
It was close in the first period, both teams putting up lots of points, but the Hornets took over in the second period, outscoring B'ville 19-7 and grabbing a 39-25 lead at the break.
F-M kept the margin comfortable the rest of the way, Mike Palermo leading the way as he finished with 18 points. Matt DeFrancisco stepped up, joining Matt Reilley as they both finished with eight points. Connor Chen and Tomer Nesher both got eight points as John Schurman added seven points and Kevin Rutman stepped up for six points.