When the Cazenovia boys basketball team turned back Institute of Technology Central on Jan. 4, it ended a two-week hiatus – but kicked off a busy stretch where the Lakers would play four times in a span of eight days.
And it all wrapped up Friday night, when Syracuse Academy of Science, enjoying a strong first season in the Class B ranks, paid a visit to Buckley Gym. With a chance at a key mid-season win, the Lakers instead saw it get away at the end in a 61-59 defeat to the Atoms.
Cazenovia did not arrive at the SAS game in a good mood, not after it squandered a big fourth-quarter lead in last Wednesday’s game at Solvay and lost to the Bearcats 63-52 in overtime.
Playing well on both sides, the Lakers steadily worked its way to a 31-17 halftime lead, and though Solvay fared better in the third quarter, Cazenovia was up 40-30 with one period left.
Then it all fell apart. The Bearcats charged, moved within a field goal as time wound down, and tied it when John Savo’s tip of a missed shot went through the basket at the buzzer, making it 49-49 and forcing overtime.
Stunned by its late struggles, Cazenovia slumped further in the four-minute OT period, outscored 14-3 as fine performances by Andrew Vogl (18 points), Kevin Hopsicker and Ryman Seeley (13 points each) went to waste. Nick Filippi, with 22 points, and Tyler Cardinell, with 16 points, led the Solvay rally.
Against SAS, it was a miniature version of the Solvay game. Again led by Hopsicker and Vogl, Cazenovia battled its way to a 31-24 halftime lead.
Gradually, the Atoms ate into that margin, leaning on forward Ramo Ozkan, who got 22 points, with support from Agim Hamiti (13 points) and Jesse Murry (11 points). The trio helped SAS seize a lead late in regulation and hang on to prevail.