Cazenovia A simple, yet difficult assignment faced the Cazenovia girls basketball team, as it still needed two more victories to secure a Section III Class B playoff berth.
One of those wins was within reach in last Tuesday’s game against Bishop Grimes at Buckley Gym, but a strong defensive effort faltered in the waning stages of a 43-32 loss to the Cobras.
Utilizing everything from full-court pressure to a 2-3 zone, the Lakers bothered Grimes with its multiple defensive looks through a low-scoring first half. Yet Cazenovia could not take advantage, missing all kinds of open looks as it went to the break trailing 16-13.
When Caroline Franz, Jessica Bubb and Colleen Dougherty hit consecutive baskets early in the third quarter, the Lakers briefly went in front, 19-16, and even as the pace quickened, the Lakers were not rattled, keeping it tied, 25-25, with one period left.
Trying to conserve energy, the Lakers reverted to the zone in the fourth quarter. But that left Grimes teammates Lauren Vaughan and Tina Hoag to hit on four 3-pointers, which broke a close contest open.
Vaughan, with 14 points, and Hoag, with nine points, led Grimes. No one on Cazenovia reached that total, though Maggie Carpenter put up eight points and Dougherty added seven points.
Now the Lakers had to face undefeated, state no. 6-ranked Westhill on Thursday night, and after a strong start everything went wrong in the second quarter as Cazenovia fell to the Warriors 50-30.
Fired up to try and stop Westhill’s 14-game win streak, the Lakers inched into a 15-14 lead by the time the first quarter was done. Then it did not score for the rest of the half.
The Warriors blanked Cazenovia in a 15-0 second-period push, and the hosts never recovered, though Kristie Kleine led with eight points and Carpenter added seven points. For Westhill, Sam Peebles (19 points), Anna Ross (11 points) and Maggie Tripodi (10 points) reached double figures.
So the Lakers still need those two wins, and just three games remain, including this week’s trip to Skaneateles and a home date with Jordan-Elbridge, plus a Feb. 7 meeting with Hannibal.