Things have bounced up and down for the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team, who finds itself with a 5-4 record as it hit the midway point of the regular season following a pair of close defeats.
For its first outing of 2012, the Northstars went on the road last Tuesday and attempted to topple undefeated Fayetteville-Manlius, and nearly pulled it off before falling to the Hornets 64-61.
Amid the tight, cramped quarters of the gym known as the “Hornets’ Nest”, CNS could not keep up with the young, talented F-M squad in the second quarter and fell behind, 36-27, by halftime.
But CNS made up the deficit in the third quarter, pulling even 46-46. During the fourth quarter, F-M moved back in front, but the Northstars were still within one before Tomer Nesher’s late 3-pointer, and a string of John Schurman free throws, allowed the hosts to escape.
Vaughndell Brantley, with 17 points, led CNS as Shakir Thomas put up a season-best 15 points and Logan Roberts added 14 points. Schurman, just a sophomore (F-M also starts two freshmen), led F-M with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Another big test beckoned on Friday, against Oswego, where the Northstars found out just how much the Buccaneers have improved in a 62-57 defeat.
Under a new head coach (Bob Misch) and featuring several stars of the boys volleyball team that went to the state Class AA final four last fall, Oswego had roared to a 5-1 start, its only defeat coming to Henninger in mid-December.
And the Bucs didn’t get fazed one bit when CNS, setting a torrid early pace, raced to a 27-20 first-quarter lead. Instead, as the Northstars cooled off, Oswego maintained its tempo and inched ahead 37-36 by halftime.
As a whole, CNS went cold, only managing 17 total points in the second and third period. The Bucs, upped the margin to 51-44 by the fourth quarter and withstood all of the Northstars’ comeback attempts.
Again, Brantley led his side, with 14 points, while Xavier Brown earned 10 points. Sam Nassar and Bryan Quartier got eight points apiece, while Thomas had seven points. None of them produced as much as Oswego’s Josh Gillard, who led both sides with 22 points.
CNS will look to recover this week in games against Central Square and Nottingham.