Amid turmoil, the Skaneateles boys basketball team somehow had to find a way to focus on court matters against first-rate opposition.
And it didn’t help that the Lakers faced it without an injured Jimmy Atkinson in the lineup, starting with Tuesday's home test against Bishop Grimes.
The Cobras, at full strength and without any distractions, beat Skaneateles 66-48. It held the Lakers to seven points in the first quarter to move ahead for good, and while the Lakers hung in there through the game’s middle stages, Grimes closed on a 20-8 run to pull clear.
Brandon Barron, taking on more of the offensive burden in Atkinson’s absence, finished with 21 points, while Austin Gardner had nine points and Alex Brownlee added seven points. Gai Ater (17 points), Casey Evans (16 points) and Jon Carnegie (15 points) led the Cobras along.
Moving to Friday’s game at Hannibal (the first of five straight on the road), the Lakers, better adjusted to its new lineup, played a superb game on the defensive side and held on to beat the Warriors 59-52.
Hannibal could not even manage double-digit points in any of the first three periods, allowing Skaneateles to steadily work its way to a 34-23 advantage. Both sides would score plenty in a fourth quarter full of foul shots, but the Lakers would hang on.
Four Skaneateles players scored in double figures, led by Ryan McQuiggan, who poured in 15 points. Ben Eppolito’s pair of 3-pointers led to 13 points overall, while Brownlee chimed in with 12 points. Given some help, Barron only needed 10 points as Luke Drancsak finished with six points.
This improved the Lakers’ record to 8-5. The long road stretch continues this week with visits Tuesday to Westhill and Friday to Homer.