Cazenovia Entering 2012, the Cazenovia boys basketball team carried a solid 5-2 mark. More importantly, it was well-rested and energized, having not played since a Dec. 22 defeat to Bishop Grimes, and that refreshment translated into back-to-back wins.
The 12-day layoff ended last Tuesday night, against Vernon-Verona-Sherrill at Buckley Gym, where the Lakers played near-perfect defense in the first half and used that as a springboard to beat the Red Devils 61-46.
VVS had seen its long-time coach, Al Knapp, retire after the 2010-11 season, succeeded by Bob Esposito, and was 4-3 so far this season.
But the Lakers made the Red Devils pay for a cold-shooting first half, bolting out to a 26-11 lead. Even as the production picked up on both sides in the second half, Cazenovia answered each attempt by VVS to catch up.
Kevin Hopsicker led with 15 points, with Tanner Whiteman close behind as he earned 14 points. Andrew Vogl, Oliver Gates and Joe Romagnoli helped with six points apiece. VVS’s Brett Field led both sides with 18 points.
Staying at home Friday night, Cazenovia returned to OHSL Liberty division play against Hannibal, off to its own strong start at 5-3. But Hopsicker and Whiteman led a mid-game surge that pushed the Lakers past the Warriors 57-45.
Cazenovia trailed, 15-12, going into the second quarter, only to see every aspect of its game click in that period as it outscored Hannibal 19-6. The trend continued in the third quarter, Cazenovia’s defense again proving effective to allow the margin to grow to 43-28.
Hopsicker earned 20 points, and Whiteman was close behind, working his way to 16 points as the pair bore most of the Lakers’ offensive burden, though Gates did add nine points. Darryl Rupert led Hannibal with 14 points.
As this went on, the Cazenovia girls basketball team, at 2-7 entering the new year, went to Hannibal and, unlike the boys, struggled in the middle stages, leading to a 48-39 defeat.
With a steady first quarter, the Lakers moved ahead 12-0, but the Warriors held Cazenovia in check over the next two periods and moved in front 40-26, and would not get caught.
In defeat, Caroline Franz had 12 points and 11 rebounds, followed closely by Kaitlyn Gerber (nine points) and Colleen Dougherty (eight points), while Hannibal’s Karolina Severova led a balanced attack with 13 points and six rebounds.
Both of Cazenovia’s basketball teams would face Homer on Tuesday, their only action this week.