Liverpool A 2-0 start, and the vast amount of points produced during those wins, had Liverpool's boys basketball team in a bright mood going into Tuesday night's home opener against Utica Proctor.
But the defending Class AA champions would turn that feeling around as the Raiders dominated the fourth quarter to earn an 81-60 win over the Warriors.
What was a close contest broke open when Proctor. who had lost its season opener to Fairport last Saturday at the Peppino's Invitational at Henninger, outscored the Warriors 25-6 over the final eight minutes.
“We just ran out of gas a little bit late in the game,” Liverpool coach Matt Jacob said. “I don’t know if it was the pressure they gave us (but) we got the ball when we needed to get it. We just didn’t finish.”
The Warriors (2-1) matched Proctor shot-for-shot in an entertaining first half, hanging right with Proctor (1-1), who still took a 41-38 lead to intermission. Veteran Red Raiders coach Norm Stamboly emphasized defense in his halftime speech.
“I told the kids that what was going to win the game is our defense,” Stamboly said. “I told them we can’t allow 38 points at halftime and expect to win on the road.”
The hosts started the second half well as Hector Oyola scored five of Liverpool’s first seven points, giving the Warriors a 45-43 lead less than two minutes into the third quarter.
Proctor scored the next nine points, and looked intent on pulling away. But the Warriors closed the quarter on a 9-4 run to narrow its deficit to 56-54.
Unfazed by this, the Raiders scored the fourth quarter’s first six points. After Oyola broke Liverpool’s drought, Proctor took greater control, scoring the next eight points to take an insurmountable 72-56 lead with just under three minutes left.