No one who witnessed Wednesday night's boys basketball clash between Skaneateles and Bishop Ludden would consider it a pretty experience, with its fair amount of errant passes, missed free throws and 3-point air balls.
Yet the Lakers emerged from the affair quite happy, as it beat the Gaelic Knights 44-36 to take over sole possession of first place in the Onondaga High School League Liberty division. Both teams came into the night with 7-1 league marks.
Overall, Skaneateles is now 9-1 - and that lone blemish came at Ludden's expense back on Dec. 12, in the Holiday Classic at the Carrier Dome, where Ludden rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit with a big third quarter, then held on to beat the Lakers 65-59.
More than a month later, in the much cozier setting of Ludden's home gym in Geddes, Skaneateles looked to get even - but the path to that payback was bumpy from the moment the game tipped off.
Cold from the field start, the Lakers fell behind 8-0 and needed nearly three minutes to get on the scoreboard with Pat Roberts' lay-up. By the end of the period, it had closed the gap to 12-10, but it wasn't getting comfortable.
In fact, the entire first half, for both teams, was a sloppy affair full of missed opportunities and basic mistakes. Part of that was poor play, but a lot of it was tight, effective defense. And Skaneateles had the better of it by halftime, even though it only carried a modest 18-16 advantage.
Unlike that first game in the Dome, though, it was the Lakers that would take over in the third quarter by picking up the tempo on both ends. That meant constant pushes to the basket on offense and full-court pressure to contest every inch of court for Ludden.