To be completely accurate, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball did not just head into its most important week of the regular season – it charged into the fray, displaying top form as it has won six of its last seven games.
C-NS already has shown it can win in a hostile environment, as it did last Tuesday night by going to Baldwinsville and, sparked by Mike Tricarico’s big second-quarter surge, beating the Bees 80-69.
Unlike some seasons past, B’ville was not a pushover, having won three in a row entering this game, and it threatened to make it four straight, battling its way to a 31-24 lead on the Northstars by the middle of the second quarter.
It turned around for two reasons. First, Tricarico caught fire, sinking three 3-pointers in the second period as part of a 13-point performance in that quarter. Overall, C-NS connected five times beyond the arc as it moved ahead for good, 37-36, by halftime.
The other reason was that C-NS tightened up its interior defense. Even as top forward Xavier Brown got into foul trouble in the third quarter, Vince Mallaro and Deshawn Stevens picked up the duties and contained B’ville’s top forward, Kevin Drain, who managed just two field goals in the second half despite finishing with 21 points.
C-NS used a 10-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters to establish a 68-53 lead, and B’ville never got closer than eight points again.
Overall, Tricarico produced 25 points, but had lots of help. Mike Lumia finished with 15 points, while Brian DeMonte finished with 13 points. Stephens and Mallaro provided timely contributions, too, managing six points apiece, the same as Brown.
Back home Friday night to face Central Square, the Northstars this time did not wait to take control, immediately jumping all over the Red Hawks on the way to a 64-51 victory.