Dec 08, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
One of the best parts of the Chittenango boys basketball team’s move into the OHSL Liberty division is one guaranteed match-up with Cazenovia, their Madison County rivals down the road.
That came in the opening week of the 2012-13 campaign, as in front of a packed Buckley Gym and Time Warner Cable Sports’ cameras Friday night, the Lakers relied on a three-pronged attack to turn back the Bears by a score of 56-41.
In many ways, last season for Cazenovia was ideal, as far as learning went, in that it built a 13-5 mark under first-year head coach Paul Harney, but left feeling hungry after a first-round Section III Class B playoff defeat to Westhill.
Now the Lakers had a chance to do something about that hunger. Facing Chittenango would provide an instant amount of emotion and intensity, since many of the players on the court were also at the Carrier Dome a month earlier, when Cazenovia beat the Bears for the sectional Class B title.
Unlike that title game, though, it didn’t take long for these Lakers to seize control. Playing tight, man-to-man defense, Cazenovia limited Chittenango’s opportunities and, more importantly, hit baskets on the other end, firing up the home crowd and producing a 16-7 edge.
This trend continued the rest of the half as the Lakers’ margin grew to 26-16 at the break. As in a season-opening 48-39 win over Marcellus earlier in the week, Ryman Seeley, Cazenovia’s sixth man, provided the hot hand off the bench, his three 3-pointers clearing the way for his teammates to find some open looks.
Seeley’s work drew defensive attention – and allowed both Kevin Hopsicker and Andrew Vogl to find their open looks.
Hopsicker, quiet in the Marcellus opener, roared back to form with 15 points (including three 3-pointers of his own) and Vogl, with 12 points, reached double figures for the second game in a row.
Try as it could, the Bears could not put together a sustained run as Seeley, with some converted free throws, built his total to 21 points and the Lakers held on.
Devin Phelps led Chittenango with 14 points, the only Bear in double figures. Connor Mills managed eight points, while Sean Cliff had seven points and Aaron Jones contributed six points.
Both of these teams had opened last Tuesday night. Cazenovia went to Marcellus and mostly leaned on its defense – but found that, with Seeley, it had a reserve just as potent as anyone on the starting five.
Fast out of the gate, Cazenovia had a 19-9 lead through one quarter. After cooling off the rest of the half, the Lakers had a similar hot streak in the third quarter, expanding its lead to 41-24, out of the Mustangs’ reach.
And Seeley led the way, earning most of his 14 points from four successful 3-pointers. Vogl was right behind, with 13 points, while Matt Bonavita managed eight points. For Marcellus, only Duncan Merritt (15 points) scored in double figures.
Chittenango, meanwhile, started its season by hosting Jordan-Elbridge. After blowing a big lead late in regulation, the Bears somehow recovered for a 56-51 victory over the Eagles.
All went right for three periods, Chittenango steadily working its way to a 37-23 lead. But it all fell apart in the fourth quarter, J-E getting hot from the field just as the Bears went cold as Jared Bard (15 points) and Zach Wagner (14 points) led the comeback.
From what looked like a certain win, the Bears found itself tied, 41-41, but in the four minutes of overtime it scraped together enough offense to pull it out.
Phelps set the pace with 20 points as he and Cliff, who finished with 14 points, both hit on three 3-pointers. Brett Buyea added nine points and Jordan Sass picked up six points.
Even with the loss to Cazenovia, the Bears will have chances to recover this week in games against Skaneateles and Marcellus. Cazenovia, meanwhile, goes to Phoenix before hosting J-E on Friday.
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