SYRACUSE Four times, against four different local Class AA opponents, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys basketball team have gone on the road - and have prevailed on each occasion.
And the Hornets saved some of its best work for its last league game of 2013, as it went to Corcoran and demolished the undefeated Cougars in the first three quarters before cruising to an 82-54 victory.
This moved F-M, no. 17 in the first state Class AA rankings of the season (the only Section III team to make the poll), to 5-0. More importantly, it didn't let up when presented with a big early margin - unlike on Tuesday, at Nottingham, when a 24-point lead nearly evaporated in the final minutes before the Hornets prevailed 51-44.
Corcoran had started 3-0 with close wins over Oswego (in double overtime), Central Square and Baldwinsville, but facing F-M provided a major step up in the level of opposition, something that Jake Wittig would establish in the opening minutes.
Before the game was three minutes old, Wittig had already drained a 3-pointer, drove the baseline and served up a reverse lay-up, and had sank a pair of free throws, giving F-M a 10-2 lead that would just keep growing throughout the first half.
Each side accumulated plenty of fouls and were in the double bonus by the early portion of the second quarter. But the Hornets were better equipped to deal with it, using its deep bench to protect Wittig, John Schurman, Louis Avellino and Mike Hoalcraft from foul trouble.
It worked, as the Hornets, up 23-11 after one period, used Hoalcraft's nine second-quarter points to launch the decisive run. Before Corcoran could respond, F-M added to the total with a 9-0 spurt in the span of a minute to make it 46-22.
When Sean Brown drained another 3-pointer near the end of the half, the Hornets' margin was 55-25, and it still wasn't done. Schurman and Wittig traded baskets as the lead grew to 73-31 at one point in the third quarter.