Dec 14, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In the span of eight days, the Skaneateles boys basketball team had to go on the road to meet three of the OHSL Liberty division favorites – and each of those game ended in defeats.
Nearly a week after falling to defending Section III Class B champion Westhill on Dec. 5, the Lakers paid a visit to unbeaten Bishop Grimes, and got a lot closer to victory, only to go cold at the wrong time and take a 60-50 defeat to the Cobras.
As it has done throughout a 4-0 start, Grimes would 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 really cost the Lakers, though, was the way its attack dried up throughout the fourth quarter. 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.
Aside from Knupp, Jake Peterson, with eight points, paced the Laker attack, while Bobby Leslie and Pete Knupp earned seven points apiece. Steinberg finished with 18 points as Akol Ater (16 points) and A.C. Ater (10 points) also hit double figures.
Skaneateles faced another tough road test when it went to Buckley Gym Friday night to take on Cazenovia, where one bad stretch of basketball would prove quite costly as it lost the latest battle of Lakers teams by a score of 64-53.
Of the last 10 times Skaneateles had faced Cazenovia, Skaneateles had won nine of them. Thus, Cazenovia 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.
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 Skaneateles deficit 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 Leslie (a game-high 18 points) and 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 Cazenovia. Meanwhile, Sknaeateles would look to break a two-game skid when it returned home Monday to face Hannibal before a Thursday game against Altmar-Parish-Williamstown.