As far as the Liverpool girls basketball team's interactions with Utica Proctor are concerned, they had a familiar theme - a quick start, but a quicker response by Brianna Kiesel and the Raiders.
For the second time in as many weeks, the Warriors lost to Proctor, this time at home in a 67-59 decision where, again, Liverpool saw a double-digit lead slip away, only this process was more gradual.
Back on Jan. 15, in the opening round of the Juggler Classic at SUNY-Utica Tech, Liverpool took a 14-point lead on Proctor into the fourth quarter, got 31 points from Ally Zywicki - and still lost, 67-64 because Kiesel, the Pittsburgh-bound senior, poured in most of her 40 points in that final period.
In the sequel, Kiesel would finish with 32 points, 16 in each half, hitting on everything from pull-up jumpers to aggressive drives to the basket. Yet it was what Kiesel did in a matter of seconds late in the first half that turned the game around.
The game was tight when Liverpool (8-4), down 21-20 in the second quarter, took off on a 15-2 run, led by Nicole Ciricillo and Nina Tassone, both of whom scored in double figures in the first half - Ciricillo 11 points, Tassone 10 points. Shannon Seymour also had eight of her 10 points in the first half.
Down 35-22, Proctor again turned to Kiesel. In the closing 15 seconds of the half, she hit on a lay-up, made a steal and converted another basket, and snagged a second steal and nearly scored again. Liverpool still led 35-26 at the break, but that sequence had given the Raiders all the momentum it required.
Gradually, the Warriors' lead narrowed over the course of the second half, as Kiesel and her teammates stayed aggressive. Proctor finally pulled in front with key 3-pointers from Barrie Brooks and Jasmine Smallwood, the latter coming with 2:27 to play that gave the Raiders a 59-58 lead.