SYRACUSE Eleven days had passed since Liverpool's boys basketball team had last stepped on the court, winning the Cicero-North Syracuse Holiday Classic.
When the Warriors returned to action last Tuesday night, at Nottingham, things worked for a while - and then, all of a sudden, they did not.
The Bulldogs rallied past Liverpool, 66-57, which left both teams with 5-2 overall records. The Bulldogs are 1-0 in Class AA play. The Warriors fell to 1-1 in league play.
Warriors coach Matt Jacob knew Nottingham was at its best working its way inside, and so did his team. Knowing it and stopping it are two different things.
“Credit to Nottingham - they attacked the basket (and) we didn’t defend the paint,” Jacob said. “When they score 14 out of 15 buckets with lay-ups, you’re not going to win many games.
Nottingham squandered an 18-14 first-quarter lead with a poor second stanza. The Bulldogs allowed Liverpool to score the first 10 points on what would become a 19-7 run.
Nottingham coach Greg Jones said shot selection and defense held his team back.
“We took too many 3-point shots in the first half,” Jones said. “We’re not that team that’s going to live by the three, die by the three. Defensively I thought we were lazy. We didn’t slide in and give help.”
Jones hammered home the point that the Bulldogs are best suited to driving to the basket during his halftime speech. That’s what they did in the third quarter, and it decisively turned the game against the Warriors.
Nottingham opened the third quarter by scoring nine of the first 11 points. They took the lead (40-39) for good minutes later when Shawn Mosley converted from underneath. Then Nottingham forward Henry Sullivan scored four of his team’s next seven points to give the Bulldogs a 47-41 lead after three.