Cicero Clearly, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball team's formula for maintaining Class AA supremacy, both in the local and state ranks, centers around making sure that the opposition rarely gets a moment to breathe.
That was exactly what the Northstars did to rival Liverpool in Saturday's home opener, shutting down the Warriors for long stretches of time and rolling to a 54-16 victory.
After a split of its games at Utica's Proctor Invitational on Dec. 8-9, C-NS came back to its home court, playing for the first time under the retired no. 30 jersey of Breanna Stewart that hangs on the gym's north wall next to other honors she and her teams earned during back-to-back state title runs.
Whether C-NS can make it a state three-peat is a question that won't get answered for a couple of months, at least. But what the Northstars displayed against a Liverpool side that lost its Dec. 11 opener to Proctor sure has to make future opponents worry.
Struggling on the offensive end, C-NS did not get a field goal until McKayla Roberts hit a 3-pointer nearly four minutes into the game. Liverpool could not take full advantage of this, though, managing only a Rachael Windhausen lay-up in that sequence.
Once Abbey Timpano drained a pair of her own 3-pointers, the Northstars were in full control, and that was especially the case after Katie Dalton's basket cut the Warriors' deficit to 10-6 in the last minute of the first quarter.
Liverpool's next basket did not come until 4:49 was left in the third quarter. This meant that, for nearly 12 minutes of game action, C-NS did not surrender a field goal.
The experienced trio of Timpano, Sarah Bowles and Cara Gannett set the defensive tone, pressuring the ball and forcing a string of turnovers. Then the inside duo of Hannah Nichols and Elizabeth Miles got rid of everything else, frustrating the Warriors.