Once cast aside by West Genesee, the Liverpool boys basketball team came very close to getting the sweetest possible revenge.
The Warriors had the 10-0 Wildcats in trouble in Tuesday night's home game, only to see WG claw back, force overtime and prevail by a score of 51-47.
By any measurement, it was a long way removed from the two teams' first meeting on Dec. 27, when in the first round of Bishop Ludden's Rosemary Corcoran Holiday Classic WG flattened the then-winless Warriors 69-47.
But while the Wildcats continued to build its unbeaten mark, Liverpool completely turned around, winning six straight games before a close 65-64 defeat to Xavier (New York City) in the Jan. 16 final of the Juggler Classic at SUNY-Utica Tech.
In that contest, Liverpool trailed 40-31 at halftime, but nearly made it up in the second half behind a big night from Adam Misener, who put up 29 points, most of it from seven 3-pointers.
Tyler Bliss stepped up for a career-best 13 points, while Connor Rogers threw in nine points. But Ian Hamm's streak of five straight game of 20 points or more ended as he had just seven points against Xavier.
Now came West Genesee, with its unbeaten mark. And Liverpool nearly got the payback it desired.
A strong effort on the defensive side, especially in the second quarter (when the Wildcats got just five points), left Liverpool with 21-18 halftime lead, and it maintained that margin through the third period, too.
Staring at its first loss of the season, WG roared back and tied, it 44-44, only to leave Liverpool with a chance to win it at the end of regulation. It got two shots in the last three seconds - and missed them both.
Given new life, the Wildcats held Liverpool (perhaps a bit tired from playing its fourth game in five days) to three points in the four-minute overtime period, only getting one field goal of its own - but adding five free throws, three of them from star center Eric Spencer, who led both sides with 19 points.