Sensing a rare opportunity to take out a prime Section III Class B championship contender, the Skaneateles girls basketball team seized it.
The Lakers staged a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback in Friday night's game against Jordan-Elbridge, pulling out a 41-39 victory over the Eagles as Holly Ross hit the game-winning basket with 12.2 seconds left.
Skaneateles entered the game with a 3-7 record, having not won since Jackie Leslie went to the sidelines with a broken finger less than two weeks ago. By contrast, J-E had an 8-1 mark and was second in the OHSL Liberty division standings.
However, the Eagles were missing junior center Molly Hourigan, who injured her knee on Jan. 13 in the fourth quarter of her team's only loss of the season to Cazenovia. Despite this, J-E had smashed Hannibal 66-41 in its first game without Hourigan, and fully expected the same result against the short-handed Lakers.
Skaneateles did start well, leading 11-10 after one period before J-E, led by Natalie Andrianos (who finished with 13 points), outscored the Lakers 16-6 the rest of the first half. Perhaps at this point, the Eagles relaxed - which proved a big mistake.
Playing superb defense, the Lakers held J-E to six points in the third quarter and started to climb back. Then, with a three-pronged attack, it more than doubled J-E's total, 15-7, culminating in Ross hitting the go-ahead basket, then pulling down the rebound seconds later to seal the win.
Eighth-grader Elizabeth Lane led both sides with 15 points. Emily Call was right behind, earning most of her 11 points through a trio of 3-pointers, while Ross chimed in with 10 points. Other than Andrianos, Erin McLaughlin (nine points) and Kali Davis (eight points) were J-E's top producers.
So for one victorious night, the girls Lakers overshadowed the efforts of the boys - who still did its part quite nicely when it went to Jordan-Elbridge and smashed the Eagles 87-45 to improve to 10-1 and stay in first place in the Liberty division.
From the time it opened with a 26-11 first quarter, Skaneateles was in total control, outscoring the Eagles in every period. The margin was 51-23 by halftime, and the Lakers made sure all of its players got some court time.
As a result, 11 different Lakers got at least one field goal, none more than Kevin Rice, who set a season mark with 29 points, including four 3-pointers. Pat Roberts and Zach Brownlee each finished with 11 points, while Brandon Barron got nine points and Jimmy Atkinson threw in six points.