Having lost its last three regular-season games, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys basketball team was not carrying a high amount of confidence into the Section III Class AA playoffs.
And sure enough, the no. 9 seed Hornets had to scramble just to get out of Tuesday night's first-round game at no. 8 seed Fowler. F-M needed a double-digit comeback, a last-second shot at the end of regulation and overtime to beat the Falcons 69-62.
F-M had a solid start, leading 14-10 after one period, but over the course of the next two quarters Fowler took over and, at one point in the third period, led by 11.
The Hornets closed the gap, though, behind a wave of 3-point shots from John Schurman, Connor Chen and Mike Palermo, who hit 11 between them in the course of the game.
Yet it was Kevin Putnam flashing open to drain a 3-pointer with less than three seconds left in regulation that tied the game, 52-52, and forced overtime. Once in the four-minute extra period, the Hornets outscored Fowler 17-10 to keep its season alive.
Schurman and Palermo each finished with 20 points overall, while Chen threw in 12 points, all from four 3-pointers, and Putnam added seven points. On Fowler's side, Dieudone Pierre led with 15 points as Wilquan Burke added 11 points and Mike Givens 10 points.
As this went on, the F-M girls team, with the no. 7 seed in its Class AA tournament bracket, had to beat no. 10 seed West Genesee at home in its opening-round contest. And while it was far from smooth, the Hornets did eliminate the Wildcats in a 51-39 decision.
Having beaten WG 60-45 on this same court earlier in the month, F-M did not expect a smooth effort in the sequel - and sure enough, the Hornets had offensive issues throughout the first half. Still, a strong, consistent defense produced a 24-16 halftime edge.