Just when it was picking up late-season momentum and ready to crash into the short list of Section III Class B title contenders, the Cazenovia boys basketball team got sidetracked – if only for a brief moment.
A large part of that was weather. The snowstorm that postponed a Feb. 1 clash between Cazenovia and Skaneateles and pushed it back to the last day of the regular season Tuesday night meant that the Lakers went a week in between games after Kevin Hopsicker’s 33 points helped beat Hannibal 72-56 on Jan. 28.
When the Lakers finally did resume last Tuesday at 4-12 Institute of Technology Central, that rhythm was gone, and the Eagles, taking full advantage, took charge in the game’s middle stages and held on to beat Cazenovia 58-55.
What was a 16-12 Lakers lead started to melt away late in the first half, and vanished in the third quarter, when ITC moved out in front 46-41.
Even as Cazenovia shored up its defense in the final period, its comeback attempt fell just short. All game long, the Eagles’ defense zeroed in on Hopsicker, fouling him often.
Thus, Hopsicker finished with just three field goals, with seven of his 13 points coming at the foul line. Andrew Vogl also drew attention, but still managed a team-high 16 points as Ryam Seeley contributed 10 points. Rensey Chandler led ITC with 20 points, while Algernon Torrence finished with 11 points.
Cazenovia knew it had to improve Saturday when it played Solvay, who ever since the new year has been one of the best sides in the OHSL Liberty division and had just beaten Skaneateles earlier in the week.
Just when it was absolutely needed, the Lakers delivered a solid all-around effort and beat the Bearcats by a score of 56-50.
With an increased tempo in the first quarter, Cazenovia battled its way to an 18-17 lead, only to have Solvay pull even, 29-29, by the time they reached the half.