Liverpool Given the recent struggles of this program, just the fact that the Skaneateles girls basketball team got within a few minutes of a Section III championship was remarkable enough.
Still, the pain of what happened in the last four minutes of the Lakers' 64-51 defeat to Hannibal in Tuesday night's Class B-2 final at Liverpool High School could not be easily masked.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Skaneateles led 48-40, and had an open shot to build the margin to double digits, but missed it. Soon after, everything fell apart.
The Warriors' aggressive play led to a series of free throws, cutting the margin to 48-45. Despite this, head coach Jill Blasi did not use any of her time-outs, saying that it would only lead to further panic among her players.
"I didn't want the girls to get rattled," said Blasi.
Rattled or not, the Lakers' situation got worse when star freshman Elizabeth Lane took an inadvertent slap and her mouth began to bleed, which forced her out of the game with 2:55 left, robbing Skaneateles of its best ball-handler and most consistent outside shooting threat.
As Lane recuperated, Skaneateles still had a 50-47 lead when, seconds after Joanna Dobrovosky hit a pair of free throws, Tayler Sorell drained a 3-pointer from the corner to pull Hannibal even, 50-50.
It was Devin Sorrell's basket with 1:34 to go that pushed the Warriors ahead for good, 52-50, and from there it was a parade to the foul line. Between them, Tayler Sorell and Karolina Severova made 10 consecutive free throws in the final minute to put the Lakers away.
All told, Hannibal made 16 of its 18 free-throw attempts in that final period, and Sorell led the way, getting 15 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter after Allie Taylor, who finished with 23 points, carried the Warriors' attack much of the night.