Meanwhile, the strong start by Manlius-Pebble Hill continued, the Trojans hosting Faith Heritage on that same Dec. 20 and fighting its way to a 40-29 victory over the Saints.
Even though both teams struggled for baskets in the first half, Faith had far more trouble, MPH holding them to three points in the second quarter as its lead grew to 18-11.
Then the Trojans went cold, getting just four points in the third period. But Faith could not take full advantage, and MPH used a series of late free throws to put things away.
Dan Byrnes continued to flourish, earning 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Jon Cerio had 10 points and four rebounds. Rex Lin had nine points and Duncan Morrison contributed five rebounds.
In contrast to MPH’s surge, Bishop Grimes was going in the other direction, and unbeaten, state Class B no. 4-ranked Westhill maintained the Cobras’ misery, beating them 61-45.
Grimes was already short-handed, as star senior forward Tom Steinberg was still recovering from an ankle injury suffered a week earlier in an overtime loss to Solvay. Without Steinberg, the Cobras, once 5-0, had lost back-to-back games, also falling to Marcellus Dec. 17.
Still, Grimes was up for Westhill, hanging close early before Jordan and Ryan Roland, exploiting the Cobras’ zone defense, combined for 10 quick points that stretched the lead to 23-11 early in the second quarter, a margin that mostly held until halftime.
Up 35-24 at the break, the Warriors all but sealed matters with an 18-8 domination of the third quarter, constantly going to the foul line – and constantly converting, going 21-for-22 on free throws by night’s end.
Joe Arrigo (15 points) and Johnny Wike (12 points) led Grimes’ efforts, with Akol Ater adding six points. Westhill’s Jeff Lobello sank all 10 of his foul shots as the junior managed 19 points overall. Jordan Roland got 16 points, with Ryan Roland adding 11 points.