It was of paramount interest for the Bishop Ludden boys basketball team to get two wins in the last full week of January if it wanted to keep up with Skaneateles and Westhill in the OHSL Liberty division.
On Thursday night, the Gaelic Knights hosted Marcellus and worked hard all night - but still did enough to post a 59-51 victory over the Mustangs, improving to 9-2 in league play and 10-3 overall.
Ludden did not have the quickest of starts - but more than made up for it with ferocious defense that limited Marcellus to five points in the first quarter.
By the time both sides started to find the basket, the Gaelic Knights were settling into the lead, up 26-20 at the half. For the rest of the game, every time Marcellus wanted to get closer, Ludden would answer and maintain the margin.
Dan Kaigler had his best offensive showing since December, the freshman finishing with 21 points to lead both sides. Kelly Beaudoin also stepped up, his 14 points including a trio of 3-pointers, while Casey Ganley threw in 13 points. Steve Raven led Marcellus with 18 points, with Geoff Crysler (11 points), Kyle Hastings (10 points) and Nick Sinay (eight points) close behind.
Two nights earlier, both teams had won in wildly varying ways. Marcellus had to fight off Solvay 62-61, while Ludden bashed Cazenovia 59-39.
All game long, the Mustangs and Bearcats traded the lead, Solvay carried along by Dan Aiello, who burned Marcellus for 34 points, more than half his team's total.
Despite that, the Mustangs were tied 41-41 going to the fourth quarter, and the seesaw continued until Marcellus finally inched on top for good.
Raven, with 14 points, was one of four Marcellus players to hit double figures. Chaz Hayes put in 13 points as Crysler and Hastings had 10 points apiece.