Cazenovia Before it entered a two-week holiday respite, the Skaneateles girls basketball team had a chance to really build up momentum and confidence.
Instead, in a game at Cazenovia Thursday night, Skaneateles found itself the far lesser of the two Laker sides, outplayed in just about every phase of the game during a 54-34 defeat.
Everything worked, from full-court defensive pressure that caused 24 Skaneateles turnovers to an attack that saw its aggression pay off at the start of each half with sustained scoring runs.
This Laker duel was supposed to be Cazenovia's biggest challenge so far. Under first-year coach Chris Carpenter, Cazenovia had mostly built its 5-0 mark beating sub-.500 teams, and Skaneateles was a step up in competition.
However, Skaneateles was missing 6-foot starting forward, Mary Buck, still out with an ankle sprain she suffered in a loss to Westhill a week earlier.
Without Buck (Joanna Dean replaced her in the starting lineup), the visitors watched as Cazenovia's front line, anchored by Maggie Carpenter, Kaitlyn Gerber and reserve Maggie Johnson, controlled the boards most of the night.
But the bigger story was how Cazenovia's perimeter play totally threw Skaneateles off. While seeing full-court pressure was nothing new for Skaneateles, it simply could not handle the constant heat provided by guards Kristie Kleine and Taylor Mimms, who forced Elizabeth Lane and Brittany Welch into rushed passes that ended up in Cazenovia hands.
Kleine had just as big an impact on the offensive end, giving an indicator as to how the night would go by banking in a 3-pointer to cap a game-opening 7-0 run. With Kleine getting seven points and Gerber contributing six points in the first quarter alone, Cazenovia bolted out to a 21-8 lead by the end of the period.
As it turned out, what happened in the second quarter was just as important. Cazenovia rushed outside shots and missed most of them, but Skaneateles could not take full advantage, only closing the gap to 25-18 as they went to halftime.