East Syracuse As it does each holiday season, the Baldwinsville boys basketball team went to East Syracuse-Minoa’s Vince Celi Memorial Tournament, in search of some momentum for 2014.
The Bees did not receive it, though, in the opening round Friday afternoon, where it met up with Union-Endicott (Section IV) and lost a 76-66 decision to the Tigers.
Things started fine for B’ville, who led 15-11 after one period. U-E turned it around, though, by halftime, moving out in front 33-32, and then spent the second half steadily building its margin and withstanding all of the Bees’ attempts to answer.
Nick Alley, in defeat, paced B’ville with 17 points. Ben DiOrio put together 15 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, while Devyn McLeod had his own double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. Cameron Skipworth and John Brecht each finished with eight points.
This sent B’ville into Saturday's consolation game against Auburn, who lost to host ESM 51-45 in the other opening-round contest. It would prove just as low-scoring here, but the Bees would get through it and edge past the Maroons 48-43.
Mainly, the game got decided at the edges. B’ville held Auburn to a scant four points in the first quarter, yet still saw a double-digit lead mostly vanish in the second period as the Maroons pulled within two, 25-23, at the break.
Worse yet for the Bees, Auburn got in front, 40-35, before it reached the fourth quarter. Right there, though, the Maroons went cold again, and B’ville took full advantage, charging back in front and staying there.
McLeod led the comeback and finished with 16 rebounds to go with his nine points. DiOrio was strong, too, with 11 points, five rebounds and nine assists, while Alley had 10 points. Skipworth and Kyle George matched McLeod’s nine-point output as Skipworth managed six assists and George added six rebounds.
These two games were the first of six straight on the road for the Bees, who are back in action Jan. 7 for a rematch with Auburn before going to Nottingham on Jan. 10.