Somewhere in the course of transition from 2010 to 2011, the Bishop Ludden boys basketball team lost the offensive spark that produced seven consecutive wins and a run to the OHSL Liberty division lead.
And it didn't return last Wednesday night when, in a first-place showdown with Skaneateles on its home court, the Gaelic Knights melted down in a series of poor shots and giveaways that led to a 44-36 defeat to the Lakers.
A month earlier, in the Dec. 12 Holiday Classic at the Carrier Dome, Ludden had come from behind in the second half and given Skaneateles its only loss of the season in a 65-59 decision.
For a while in the early going, the rematch looked just as promising. Dan Kaigler produced seven first-quarter points as the Gaelic Knights seized a quick 8-0 lead.
But the rest of the half devolved into a struggle on both ends. Ludden started to give away the ball - and even when it held on to it, the shots were poor, as three times there were air balls on 3-point attempts.
So despite the nice start, Ludden trailed, 18-16, at halftime. Even as Skaneateles quickened the pace in the third quarter and applied full-court defensive pressure, Ludden hung in there, even reclaiming the lead 29-27 on Tyler Young's lay-up late in the period.
It all crashed down from there, though. Skaneateles made the decisive move, closing the quarter on a 10-0 run that included a pair of 3-pointers from reserve Jimmy Atkinson, and the pressure took a toll on the Gaelic Knights, who continued to be generous.
By game's end, Ludden had committed 26 turnovers, and it only managed two field goals in the fourth quarter, none in an eight-minute span as Skaneateles, led by Pat Roberts' 13 points, put the game away.