Dec 14, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
When the Cazenovia boys basketball team went up against Skaneateles in the annual Laker duel Friday night at Buckley Gym, it did so finding out whether it could recover from a painful defeat.
The answer proved positive, as Cazenovia built a big second-half lead on Skaneateles, and then held on at the end to prevail 64-53, halting a long struggle against its Laker rivals to the west.
Of the last 10 times Cazenovia had faced Skaneateles, only one had gone in Cazenovia’s favor. Thus, it had plenty of motivation, a fact only augmented by the close 63-62 loss it took to Syracuse Academy of Science earlier in the week.
Skaneateles, coming off a 60-50 defeat to Bishop Grimes on Wednesday, wouldn’t make it easy, either at the beginning or end.
They played through a tight first half, Skaneateles generally able to match Cazenovia’s production level despite Ryman Seeley’s nine points. But a key moment came right before halftime.
Clinging to a 24-23 lead, Cazenovia gained some cushion when Kevin Hopsicker drained a 3-pointer, and that, plus a free throw, helped extend the margin to 28-23 going into the break.
As it turned out, that momentum carried Cazenovia through the entire third quarter. Tight man-to-man defense led to Skaneateles turnovers and baskets on the other end, all part of a 25-7 blitz that made the score 52-30, seemingly out of reach.
Except that Skaneateles didn’t give up, even as the deficit grew to 58-36. Stunning the hosts, Skaneateles went on a 17-0 run, moving within 58-53 as Bobby Leslie (a game-high 18 points) and Jake Peterson (11 points) led the rally. But the comeback ended there, as Cazenovia made six of 10 free throws in the final two minutes to finally put things away.
Seeley, with 16 points, and Hopsicker, with 12 points, led a deep and varied attack. Ryan Henderson put up nine points, while Andrew Vogl and Jake Shaffner each got seven points. Keaton Ackermann and Ross Gerber had six points apiece.
Three nights earlier, Cazenovia paid that visit to Syracuse Academy of Science, having the lead going into the fourth quarter and a chance to win it late – and capitalizing on neither situation.
All seemed to be fine in the first three periods. Cazenovia inched out to a 17-14 first-quarter edge, and though both sides had plenty of production in the second period, the Lakers mostly stayed in front and was up 37-34 on SAS at the break.
By the time they reached the final period, Cazenovia’s lead had grown to 48-43, and it clung to that advantage until, trailing 58-55, SAS roared to the front with a timely 7-2 run.
Now trailing 61-60, the Lakers had a chance to go back in front in the final minute, but could not convert. With 10.4 seconds left, the Atoms made a pair of free throws, and the Lakers’ 3-point attempt to force overtime, though a basket at the buzzer cut the final margin to one.
Seeley, who led with 19 points, was one of four Cazenovia players to score in double figures. Hopsicker, Gerber and Henderson each put up 11 points, while SAS’s Jayson Brower led both sides with 24 points as Jesse Murry added 16 points.
This led Cazenovia back home to its clash with Skaneateles, and a bit more success.
With a 3-1 mark, the Lakers host Altmar-Parish-Williamstown on Tuesday before going to meet Syracuse’s other OHSL Liberty school, Institute of Technology Central, on Thursday night. A Dec. 27-28 appearance at the Penn Yan Tournament will follow.