Jan 18, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Either the Cazenovia boys basketball team was going to let another big-name opponent get away, or it was going to hang on and get a season-changing win.
The Lakers ended up with the latter – and happier – fate on Thursday night at Buckley Gym, leaning on clutch free-throw shooting to push past Bishop Grimes by a score of 67-62.
In the previous nine days, Cazenovia had lost three times, blowing a big lead late in an overtime defeat to Solvay on Jan. 9, dropping a narrow home decision to Syracuse Academy of Science on Jan. 11 and, back on Tuesday, falling 59-39 to Westhill.
The prospect of a four-game skid was very real against Grimes, especially after the Lakers squandered a 56-48 lead, the Cobras going on a 10-2 run to pull even, 58-58.
Then, with 1:25 to play, Ryman Seeley got fouled, and stepped to the line. He sank both free throws, and after both sides missed multiple shots, Seeley was fouled again with 30.5 seconds left. Again, both foul shots swished.
Grimes cut the deficit to 62-59, and with 19.8 seconds to play Seeley was fouled one more time. Showing remarkable poise, Seeley made it six-for-six from the line in the clutch.
Still, it wasn’t over. Connor Evans’ 3-pointer cut the Cobras’ deficit to 64-62, and Andrew Vogl was fouled with 5.0 seconds left. He made the first and missed the second, but Ross Gerber tracked down the rebound, got hacked, and made both of his free throws with 3.6 seconds left to play, clinching the victory.
All told, Cazenovia went nine-for-10 in foul shots in those last 85 seconds of regulation. And Seeley did most of it, adding to the back-to-back 3-pointers he made earlier in the period to give him 12 points in the fourth quarter and 19 points overall.
For the entire night, the Lakers and Cobras went back and forth. Cazenovia trailed, 17-10, in the first quarter, only to seize three different small leads in the second period before Grimes regained a 31-29 edge at the half.
The game’s first major turning point came late in the third quarter. Still down 43-41, the Lakers closed the period on a 7-0 run, sparked by back-to-back baskets from forward Matt Bonavita.
Then Seeley, who battled foul trouble all night, made his pair of 3-pointers just 17 seconds apart early in the final period, pushing the Lakers’ edge to 56-48 before the Cobras fought back one more time.
A big key to the outcome was the way Cazenovia’s production was spread around. Just behind Seeley, Vogl and Kevin Hopsicker both finished with 13 points, while Berger, with his clinching free throws, also moved into double figures with 11 points as Bonavita added six points.
Grimes, in defeat, saw Connor Evans get most of his 16 points in the second half, while Casey Evans added 14 points and Jon Carnegie added 10 points.
That sort of lift was not achieved in last Tuesday’s game at Westhill, where the Warriors, fast evolving into the Class B sectional favorites, applied plenty of defense to beat the Lakers.
This was a Westhill side vastly improved from the one that took out Cazenovia 45-41 in last February’s opening round of the Section III playoffs, having beaten the likes of Bishop Ludden, Bishop Grimes and Phoenix, all on the road.
Against the Warriors’ man-to-man defense, the Lakers were unable to put together any kind of sustained run. Only Vogl, with 19 points, was consistently productive as Hopsicker and Seeley were held to six points apiece, a total that Gerber would match.
Meanwhile, Cazenovia did a solid job of containment on Westhill’s top player, Jordan Roland, holding him to 14 points. But the Warriors helped Roland out as Tyler Reynolds also scored 14 points and Jeff Lobello added 11 points.
Cazenovia (7-5) now plays three straight road games, including visits next week to Vernon-Verona-Sherrill and Jordan-Elbridge.