Though they both avoided the holiday tournament circuit, the Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool boys basketball teams did earn important non-league wins on their respective home floors before heading into 2014.
Hosting Webster Schroeder (Section V) last Friday night, the Northstars climbed back above the .500 mark – but it didn’t prove easy, at it required a mid-game comeback, and then overtime, to turn away the Warriors 73-69.
Webster Schroeder was hot at the start, bolting out to a 24-15 lead by the end of the first quarter. But when the Warriors cooled down the rest of the half, C-NS took full advantage, closing within 32-30 by halftime.
They traded baskets throughout the second half, but the Northstars did enough to catch up and tie it, 63-63, as the game went into overtime. It marked the fourth time a C-NS game had gone down to the final seconds, but the first that required an OT to settle it.
During those extra four minutes, neither side took charge until the end, when C-NS got the baskets and free throws it needed to pull the game out.
Brian DeMonte led with 20 points, sinking four 3-pointers along the way. Troy McIntyre managed 16 points, while Connor Evans had 14 points and Ronnie Williams (11 points) also reached double figures.
Liverpool finally had its first home game of the season on Saturday, against Vestal (Section IV), and would be successful here, too, defeating the Golden Bears 71-58.
They were even, 14-14, until the second quarter, when Liverpool outscored Vestal 15-7 to take control. The pace quickened in the third quarter, but the Warriors survived it, 22-21, and would thwart all of the Golden Bears’ attempts to get closer.
Taylor, with 15 rebounds to go with his 10 points, led a well-balanced Warrior attack. Sullivan led with 17 points, while Jaydakis Scott returned to form with 11 points and Sean Dillon matched Taylor’s 10-point total. Brandon Derouchie contributed eight points.
Following this, the Warriors (5-2) got a chance to rest for a week, all leading up to a key Jan. 7 home game against the same defending Section III Class AA champion Henninger team it lost to, 64-40, on Dec. 17. That same night, C-NS gets its own big test against another AA favorite, Fayetteville-Manlius.