Not happy that its six-game win streak had ended in a narrow 66-64 defeat to Rush-Henrietta on Jan. 4, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys basketball team wasted little time getting another win streak started, though the second win was difficult to attain.
The Hornets went to Corcoran last Tuesday night and turned to its vaunted 1-3-1 defense to take charge against the Cougars, leading to an impressive 70-38 victory.
They were tied, 16-16, through one period, but F-M adjusted its pressure – and proceeded to shut out Corcoran in the second quarter, going on a decisive 17-0 spurt.
All told, the Hornets outscored the Cougars 33-5 in those middle two periods, making the homestretch a formality and a chance to get the entire roster some playing time.
Jake Wittig set the tone, recording five steals to go with his 10 assists and six points. John Schurman hit five 3-pointers on his way to 20 points overall. T.J. Wheatley and Tomer Nesher each had eight points, while Cormac Bettinger earned seven points.
Now the toughest stretch of the season loomed, and began Friday when Nottingham paid a visit to the “Hornets’ Nest”, looking to avenge a 63-50 home defeat to F-M on Dec. 18.
The Bulldogs almost pulled it off, leading in the last minute of regulation before the Hornets, led by Nesher, made all the key plays at the end for a 60-53 victory.
For most of the first half, F-M kept control, nursing a single-digit lead, but staying out in front 30-22 going to the break. Then the Hornets cooled off in the third quarter, and Nottingham erased most of its deficit.
Through a tense final period, F-M could not pull away, and the Bulldogs, in fact caught up. Not until Nesher hit on a basket in the final minute, and Wittig’s steal led to another Nesher lay-up on the other end, did the Hornets pull through.
All told, Nesher had 25 points and six rebounds, offering a real complement to Schurman, who managed 19 points and 12 rebounds. Wittig finished with six points and six assists. Tyquan Rolon led a deep, balanced Nottingham attack with 13 points.
This leads to two big games this week, as the Hornets (8-2) would visit West Genesee Tuesday before Friday’s home showdown with Henninger, whom it lost to in last year’s Section III Class AA semifinals.