CBA had made it six in a row on Dec. 21, hosting Mexico and mostly relying on a first-half offensive blitz to zoom past the Tigers 57-33.
As usual, the Brothers ran from the start, steadily gaining a 17-10 first-quarter edge. But CBA saved its real surge for the second period, turning every Mexico mistake into a basket on the other end during a 26-7 domination of that period.
From that 43-17 halftime deficit, the Brothers relaxed a bit, and could afford to. Marisa Romeo again set the pace, putting in 21 points and adding seven rebounds, while Julie Cuomo stepped up for 15 points. Natalie Nardella managed eight points and six rebounds as Olivia Pitonzo contributed seven points.
Before all this, Fayetteville-Manlius had played in Central Square’s Traci Zimmer Memorial Tournament, which got truncated by the first serious winter snows of the season.
The Hornets met host Central Square in the opening round on Dec. 21, and strong defense throughout the night made the difference as it earned a 43-30 victory over the Red Hawks.
A last-second loss to Jamesville-DeWitt had motivated F-M, but also left a lingering effect as the Hornets could only manage a 7-7 tie with Central Square in the first quarter.
But when the Hornets outscored the Red Hawks 14-6 the rest of the half, it took the lead for good, the margin going to double digits (32-22) by the end of the third quarter.
Lauren Getman led the way, piling up 17 points, including seven successful free throws. No one else had more than D’Jhai Patterson Ricks’ total of seven points, but all eight F-M players that saw action got at least one field goal. Claudia Stirpe, with 17 points, earned more than half of Central Square’s output.
This led to a scheduled final against undefeated Class B power Westhill, who beat Liverpool 58-38 in the other half of the opening round. But the game on Dec. 22 got postponed by weather.