Part of rising to success in sports is maintaining momentum after a big win and avoiding a downturn – as the Cazenovia boys basketball team found out.
Fresh off what appeared to be a breakthrough in its overtime win at Westhill Jan. 27, Cazenovia returned home to Buckley Gym last Tuesday night and ran into Skaneateles, who prevailed, 60-49, in this latest battle of Laker teams.
When these teams met Dec. 13 at Skaneateles, Cazenovia pulled out an overtime win here, too, 57-55, but for the rematch it caught Skaneateles just as it returned one of its top offensive threats, Jimmy Atkinson, to the lineup from an ankle injury.
For a half, it was just as close, the two sides unable to find much offensive rhythm. Cazenovia only trailed by two, 22-20, at the break, but slipped in the third quarter as Skaneateles outscored them, 18-9, which accounted for much of the winning margin.
Tanner Whiteman and Kevin Hopsicker still managed 15 points apiece, while David McEntee added 11 points. Skaneateles senior Brandon Barron led both sides with 24 points.
Cazenovia, playing without an injured Oliver Gates, would welcome back Andrew Vogl to the lineup Friday, at Jordan-Elbridge, and Vogl made an immediate impact, helping Hopsicker and Whiteman as the Lakers beat the Eagles 78-61.
Despite a 2-12 mark, J-E stayed close throughout the first half, and Eagles star Leland Holmes would be spectacular on his senior night, pouring in 36 points.
But Cazenovia, only ahead 32-30 at the break, outscored J-E 28-18 in the third quarter to get away. Between them, Whiteman, who had 25 points, and Hopsicker, who had 20 points, hit on seven 3-pointers, while Vogl earned 11 points, seven of them from successful free throws. Joe Romagnoli added six points.
After hosting Adirondack on Monday, the Lakers close the regular season Wednesday at Hannibal, and then will await Sunday’s announcement of the Section III Class B playoff pairings.