It proved an exciting week for the East Syracuse-Minoa basketball teams on several levels, as the girls made a stirring comeback against the reigning Section III Class A champions and, four days later, the boys made the annual Hall of Fame Game a winning effort.
And it all started when the girls Spartans went to Cortland last Tuesday night and rallied past the defending champion Purple Tigers 54-52.
All looked good in the first half, when ESM shut Cortland down and steadily built a 28-16 lead. Then it appeared to fall apart in the third period as, led by Nacirema Mann (who finished with 22 points), the Purple Tigers went on a 27-9 spree.
Suddenly trailing 43-36, ESM refused to panic. Instead, it used a steady inside-outside game to come back and go in front, this time for good.
Olivia Luciani provided the perimeter work, her 21 points featuring four successful 3-pointers, while Gabby Eure worked in the paint to get 13 points. ESM also kept Cortland star Maggie Brown from hitting any stride, holding her to 12 points.
ESM's boys had run into unbeaten Cortland last Tuesday and lost, 63-47, to the Purple Tigers. It could not recover from a first half where, already behind 21-11, it did not manage a single point in the second period as Cortland increased the margin to 29-11.
All of the Spartans' moves came in the late going, as Sharif Nero led with 11 points. Ryan Dadey had nine points, with Josh Stuper adding eight points and Casey Sullivan getting all seven of his points at the free-throw line. For Cortland, Brandon Babcock dominated the proceedings, getting nearly half his team's total as he finished with 28 points.
Then the Spartans came home Saturday to face Chittenango on the day when the school inducted its seven 2011 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.