SYRACUSE Only in its 10th outing did someone catch up and pass the Bishop Grimes girls basketball team.
That 'someone' was Bishop Ludden, who defended its home court and, improving to 8-2 on the season, held off a furious late rally from the Cobras to prevail in a 59-55 thriller on Thursday night.
Both teams were in the state Class B rankings - Grimes at no. 11, Ludden at no. 14 - and the Gaelic Knights were coming off a hard-fought 69-63 defeat to unbeaten, state no. 5-ranked Westhill on Tuesday night, while the Cobras beat Central Square 48-31 on that same night.
Right away, Ludden went after Grimes' senior star, Amelia Heiselman, who drew three fouls in the first half and only managed two points in limited court time.
As this went on, seniors Kayla Kibling and Lauren Roy lit up the scoreboard - Kibling with 13 points, Roy with 12 points. The Gaelic Knights led by as much as 13 late in the half and went to the break with a 39-28 edge. Only Erannan Shattuck's 14 points kept the Cobras within sight.
To put that score in perspective, Ludden put up more points in one half than six of Grimes' previous nine opponents had done for an entire game. Still, it was far from over.
Heiselman started to find her range early in the third quarter, hitting on four 3-pointers in a span of less than eight minutes on her way to 14 points overall. Lauren Vaught got most of her 13 points after the break, too.
All of this moved Grimes within two, 51-49, in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. The Cobras also benefited from seeing Kibling depart late in the third period with a broken nose she sustained running into an inadvertent elbow.
Displaying her toughness, Kibling returned with 4:30 left, just before Shattuck's lay-up pulled Grimes within one, 54-53. Three different times, the Cobras would have a chance to take the lead, only to miss a shot or turn the ball over.