SYRACUSE The Cazenovia boys hoops upset bid fell short in the opening round of the Section III Class B playoffs Friday night.
Entering the tournament as the no. 11 seed, the Lakers (11-8) came up short down the stretch and bowed out to no. 6 seed Syracuse Academy of Science 74-60.
Despite losing yet another game after leading by double-digits in the second half, the Lakers can hold their heads high as they look towards next season.
“They're still young,” Cazenovia coach Paul Harney said. “If you look at the end of the game we had four juniors and a sophomore out there. The thought is that hopefully they are going to learn from this.”
Clinging to a 53-49 lead to open the fourth quarter, the Lakers had trouble finding the basket and managed just seven points on one-for-12 shooting in the final period.
With that cold shooting, Harney said, "you can't beat anybody, I don't care who you're playing. At this level and in the sectionals you either show up or you go home early.”
SAS turned up the defensive pressure, implementing a full-court press two minutes into the quarter, which spurred a 9-0 run. Atoms steals on three consecutive possessions led to easy layups by Jesse Murray, Maheeb Saese and Chamaka Browne, to take the lead away from the Lakers for good.
Junior guard Andrew Vogl, who led the Lakers with 16 points, put the loss in the bluntest of terms.
“Basically, we kind of lost confidence when the fans got involved,” he said. “We just couldn't make a shot, couldn't throw the ball in the ocean.”
Led by Vogl and Ross Gerber, Cazenovia built a 37-28 halftime advantage over the taller Atoms. Vogl converted a three-point play with 2:54 left in the half to jump ahead 23-21.
A Vogl steal and layup then started a nine-point burst by the Lakers with less than a minute before the break. Gerber hit a three pointer, stole the inbounds pass and converted a three-point play to cap a 17-7 run.