Jan 14, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Whatever else happens to the Skaneateles boys basketball team in what is shaping up as a potentially memorable 2010-11 season, nothing might top the events that unfolded on a frigid Friday night in East Syracuse.
Trailing by 17 points at halftime to Bishop Grimes, the Lakers made it all the way back in the third quarter, then battled through a fourth quarter and two tense overtimes before finally emerging with a 95-91 victory over the Cobras to improve its overall record to 8-1 as it hit the midway point of the regular season.
Incredibly, it was the second straight time Skaneateles and Grimes had played a double-OT game. They had done so last February in a remarkable Section III Class B semifinal at Onondaga Community College, where the Cobras prevailed by a four-point margin, 70-66 – the same margin as would happen here.
Back then, Grimes survived largely because forward Mike Sugamosto had a triple-double of 23 points, 17 points and 10 blocks, making a 3-pointer at the end of the first OT to keep the game going and adding six more points in the second extra period after two Skaneateles forwards, Pat Roberts and Paul O’Donnell, fouled out.
Many of the Laker stars of that sectional semifinal, including O’Donnell, Roberts, Kevin Rice and Brandon Barron, were bent on getting revenge against Grimes. Sugamosto, Mike Stone and the rest of the Cobras were just as bent on stopping them. Together, they produced a classic.
But it didn’t seem that way in the first half. Even though Sugamosto would manage just one field goal all night, Stone and Casey Evans would atone for it, hitting a full array of shots in those first two periods to keep Skaneateles off balance. By the time it reached the locker room for halftime, the Lakers were down 46-29, and appeared in serious trouble.
It took all of eight minutes to turn that around. Just as Grimes’ offense was starting to cool off in the third quarter, the Lakers caught fire as the veteran quartet – Rice, Roberts, O’Donnell and Barron – each took turns hitting big shots. What had looked to be a runaway was, by the end of the period, just a two-point margin at 57-55. And the drama was just getting started.
All through an exciting fourth quarter, the Lakers and Cobras traded blows, the pace quick and intense. It was Skaneateles clinging to a 76-74 lead as the final seconds of regulation ticked down.
With a chance to tie it, Grimes’ Gai Ater missed – but Stone charged in from the left side and put home the rebound just before the buzzer sounded, making it 76-76 and sending the two sides into overtime once more.
Owning the momentum again, the Cobras inched out in front in the first OT period, claiming an 85-83 edge. Just like that sectional semifinal, though, the game would get prolonged – only this it was the Lakers pulling it off, Roberts hitting the tying basket in the waning seconds.
And just like that playoff classic, the second of the four-minute extra sessions would belong to the team that kept the game alive. Skaneateles got big baskets from Barron and Roberts (who stayed on the court all the way this time around) to finally close things out.
Through the long, wild affair, O’Donnell led the way with a career-best 27 points, 13 of them free throws. Roberts had 24 points – eight field goals and eight successful foul shots – with Barron grabbing 21 points and Rice working his way to 17 points. Remarkably, that quartet converted 35 foul shots between them.
Grimes saw Stone pour in 32 points (though he had 42 in a regulation game against Cazenovia a week earlier), while Evans made four 3-pointers to account for most of his 20 points. Ater had 12 points, with Connor Sohl and Mike Timpano earning nine points apiece.
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