With a chance to reach double digits in the win column and clinch a winning record for 2011-12, the Cazenovia boys basketball team did not squander that opportunity.
The Lakers ended a week-long respite Tuesday night by hosting Marcellus at Buckley Gym. With strong starts to each half, Cazenovia conquered the Mustangs 53-46.
A stifling Laker defense held Marcellus to four points in the first quarter. Cazenovia’s margin grew to 26-16 by halftime, and in the third period it all but put things away by outscoring the Mustangs 16-7, so it could withstand the visitors’ late surge.
Tanner Whiteman, with 15 points, led a balanced Laker attack. Kevin Hopsicker threw in 10 points, while Joe Romagnoli threw in nine points and David McEntee had eight points. Marcellus’ Kyle Hastings led both sides with 17 points.
That 10th win was within reach Thursday night, against Solvay, and the Lakers got it - but it didn’t prove easy as Cazenovia, save for one big outburst, struggled for points in a hard-fought 38-33 win over the Bearcats.
Only leading 8-7 after one period, Cazenovia put together a second-quarter string that resulted in a 25-17 halftime advantage. From there, the Lakers went ice-cold, only salvaging the game because its defense made Solvay just as uncomfortable.
Again, Whiteman led the way, with 12 points, while Hopsicker threw in 10 points and Oliver Gates contributed six points. No Solvay player scored in double figures.
Meanwhile, the Cazenovia girls basketball team could only manage a split, having gone to Marcellus last Tuesday and lost a narrow 41-38 decision to the Mustangs.
A rough start left the Lakers down 19-6 after one period, but it crept closer the rest of the half and, in the third quarter, outscored Marcellus 14-5 to tie the game, 34-34.
Just then, though, Cazenovia went cold again, only managing four points the rest of the way as the Mustangs went back in front and held on. Colleen Dougherty, with eight points, was the only Laker to convert more than one field goal as Molly MacLachlan (13 points) and Lauren Soule (11 points) led Marcellus along.
At least the Lakers turned it around on Thursday, mauling Solvay 59-35. Cazenovia doubled up the Bearcats, 20-10, in the opening period and kept adding to the margin from there, closing with a 17-4 burst.
What’s more, the production was spread out. Maggie Carpenter and Kristie Kleine led with 12 points apiece, with Jessica Bubb stepping up to earn nine points. Dougherty had eight points and Caroline Franz put up seven points.
Tough tests await both Cazenovia sides next week, the Lakers taking on Bishop Grimes Tuesday and Westhill on Thursday night.