Taylor returned to hurt the Bucs again with a big follow basket of a missed 3-pointer with 1:40 left and a breakaway lay-up to make it 65-59. After an exchange of misses on both ends, Dylan Lavner's sixth 3-pointer of the night with 19 seconds to play pulled Oswego within three, 65-62.
A tense sequence followed. Liverpool had to use both of its remaining time-outs before it could get the ball inbounds. Oswego, with just four team fouls, had to chase the Warriors' guards and used most of the remaining clock to get into the bonus situation.
Finally, with nine seconds left Mike Russo went to the line. Just as Taylor had done the month before, Russo made both free throws to clinch a crucial Liverpool win, finishing his night with 10 points as Dom Pirro (nine points) also made key contributions in Oyola's absence.
A weekend string of three wins in as many nights, including a conquest of rival Cicero-North Syracuse and dramatic comebacks to capture the Juggler Classic, had elevated the Warriors’ status as title contenders.
Then the winter weather showed up. On the surface, the 48-hour postponement of its trip to Proctor appeared to be a break, as it gave the Warriors a chance to get some rest and refreshment before confronting tough back-to-back road tests.
As it turned out, though, the delay, plus the suspension to Oyola, wiped out Liverpool’s momentum. And once that was accomplished, Proctor put together its own wipeout.
Liverpool had lost to these same Raiders 81-60 at home on Dec. 11, and that was when Proctor was dealing with all sorts of early-season trouble. Now the Warriors were facing a confident, red-hot Proctor side that had won three in a row.
That was quite evident at the start. Before Liverpool could settle down, it found itself trailing 20-6 at the end of a disastrous first quarter.