East Syracuse At times it lacks style, and at times it lacks cohesion, but there's no doubting the toughness and grit of the Bishop Grimes boys basketball team, at least in the early part of the 2013-14 season.
The Cobras moved to 5-0 on the season Wednesday night by rallying from a second-half deficit against visiting Skaneateles and making the necessary shots down the stretch to beat the Lakers 60-50.
This was Grimes' last home game before its Dec. 20 showdown with defending Section III Class B champion Westhill, and it knew it could not gain full momentum for that clash unless it got by a Skaneateles side whose only defeat this season came to those same Warriors.
As it has done all season, the Cobras turned to Tom Steinberg for some early production. The senior forward notched six points in a 12-0 run that covered most of the first quarter and put Grimes in front, and fellow senior Joe Arrigo notched four points just before the horn that extended the lead to 20-10.
But when Steinberg, who had 10 first-half points, picked up his second foul early in the second quarter and went to the bench, the Lakers took full advantage - especially forward Chris Knupp.
Finding room under the basket, Knupp drew contact and converted two three-point plays on his way to nine of his team-high 15 points. That helped Skaneateles erase the entire deficit and tie it, 32-32, going to halftime.
Even when Steinberg returned for the third quarter, the Lakers continued to pound away, grabbing a 42-38 lead. But then it slowed down, and despite Grimes also suffering through its fair share of sloppy play, it caught back up and went ahead for good, 47-45, on Steinberg's basket with 6:14 left.
What won the game for the Cobras, though, was the way its defense closed the door on the Lakers. All Skaneateles could manage in the fourth quarter was a single field goal, a banked-in 3-pointer by Pete Knupp in the final minute.
For its part, Grimes did not light up the scoreboard down the stretch. Instead, after Steinberg's runner with 2:19 left made it 52-46, it went a perfect eight-for-eight at the free-throw line the rest of the way. two each from Arrigo, Marial Koyroub, Akol Ater and A.C. Ater.
Steinberg finished with 18 points, a season low, but had far more help from his teammates. Akol Ater (16 points) and A.C. Ater (10 points) also hit double figures as Arrigo added eight points.