Jan 20, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Choose the style of play, and the Cazenovia boys basketball team is capable of handling it.
Whether it was a fast-paced, high-scoring first half or a slower defensive grind in the second half, the Lakers handled both scenarios and defeated Bishop Grimes, 63-53, Sunday night in the Pathfinder Bank Zebra Classic at Onondaga Community College’s Allyn Hall.
Cazenovia had not played since its last-second, 58-55 defeat to unbeaten, state Class B no. 2-ranked Westhill, a game that, even though it snapped a seven-game win streak, solidified the Lakers’ status as a Class B title contender.
Now it faced a 6-5 Grimes team that was welcoming back its leading scorer, Tom Steinberg, after he had missed a month of action due to an ankle injury.
Working hard inside, Steinberg had 14 first-half points, which was needed to keep his team close. Cazenovia led from the outset, as all five starters got at least two points in the first quarter.
Up 17-15 going to the second period, the Lakers started to light it up, connecting on five 3-pointers in that frame – two each from Ross Gerber and Ryan Henderson, and another from Ryman Seeley. That helped Cazenovia extend its margin to 39-31 going into halftime.
When the game slowed down in the third quarter and Grimes tried to catch up, the Lakers turned to its defense, who held the Cobras without a field goal for more than nine minutes, which more than made up for its own offensive struggles.
Then, after A.C. Ater made a 3-pointer to break that field-goal drought with 4:50 left to cut the margin to 50-46, the Lakers again clamped down, keeping the Cobras from a field goal until the waning seconds as it used a series of free throws to seal it. Steinberg was limited to a single free throw in the second half.
Gerber led the Lakers with 15 points, while Seeley, named the game’s Most Outstanding Player, had 14 points. Andrew Vogl picked up eight points as Henderson, Keaton Ackermann and Kevin Hopsicker managed seven points apiece. Joe Arrigo led Grimes with 16 points.
This was a the second part of a girls/boys doubleheader at OCC that included a girls game between Cazenovia and Grimes, a close contest where the Lakers had a chance to win, only to slump in the fourth quarter and fall to the Cobras 32-28.
All game long, the Lakers displayed a tremendous defensive effort, never letting Grimes get comfortable. But Cazenovia’s own attack had its issues, too, and a pair of brief first-half leads quickly melted away.
Down 14-12 at halftime, Cazenovia remained in touch and, early in the fourth quarter, threatened to take control. Maggie Johnson earned a three-point play, Lizzy Bigsby converted a jumper and Johnson returned for a basket with 6:04 left that put the Lakers in front 28-22.
But those would be Cazenovia’s last points. Julia Freeman’s basket launched Grimes’ late comeback, which included back-to-back 3-pointers from Teresa Shattuck and Megan Costello that gave the Cobras a 30-28 lead. Both sides had plenty of chances down the stretch, but it was Jordan Vaught’s jumper with 19.9 seconds left that doubled Grimes’ lead.
Unlike its last game with Fulton (where a pair of 3-pointers by Kelsi Fredericks and Audrey Burbidge in the last 8.8 seconds provided a 43-41 victory), the Lakers could not answer in the waning seconds. Johnson, with 11 points, accounted for nearly half of Cazenovia’s offense.