Feb 02, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Even with that season-defining overtime win over Skaneateles on Jan. 23 that broke up the other Lakers’ 10-game win streak, the Cazenovia girls basketball team was still two victories short of locking up a Section III playoff berth, and had to work really hard in the last week of January to cut that magic number in half.
The Lakers’ margin for error grew smaller after last Tuesday night’s non-league game against Oswego (made up from a Jan. 3 weather postponement), where the Buccaneers, toughened up by facing Class AA foes all winter, defeated the Lakers 46-24.
If, indeed, Cazenovia was going to suffer a letdown after the all-out effort against Skaneateles, it was against the wrong team. Oswego, despite its 5-8 mark, had pushed AA powers like Cicero-North Syracuse and West Genesee hard in recent weeks.
Now, the Bucs would see that effort rewarded against the Lakers, especially in a first quarter where it tore through Cazenovia’s normally strong defenses and built up a 19-6 edge.
True, Oswego cooled down the rest of the half, allowing the Lakers to close within 23-16. But Cazenovia’s offense almost vanished in the last two periods, managing a grand total of eight points as the Bucs pulled away.
Maggie Johnson, the Lakers’ scoring leader, had just seven points, with Audrey Burbidge and Kelsi Fredericks getting five points apiece. Meanwhile, Oswego saw McKenna Brooks with 10 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and four steals, lead the way as Erica Atkins got 11 points and Marguerite Dillon added nine points.
In Thursday’s non-league game against Cortland, the Lakers went to the wire, just as it had the previous two Thursdays against Fulton and Skaneateles – but this time it went down to defeat, falling 59-54 to the Purple Tigers.
Against the same Cortland side it beat 41-31 back on Dec. 20, Cazenovia’s defense was porous early, leading to a 20-15 first-quarter deficit, but it did start to contain the Purple Tigers in the second period and put up its own surge to take a 30-27 lead to the break.
Most of the third quarter belonged to Cortland, who outscored the Lakers 22-8 before Burbidge’s 3-pointer made it 49-41 going to the final period. That single basket seemed to spark Cazenovia, who ate away at the margin until it pulled within one, 53-52, with three minutes left.
At just the wrong moment, though, the Laker attack went cold, managing just two points the rest of the way as the Purple Tigers made enough free throws to hang on.
Burbidge and Fredericks each had 13 points, with Johnson contributing 12 points and Lizzy Bigsby adding eight points off the bench. Cortland’ Raeanna Dunn led her side with 19 points, with Jackie Phillips (16 points) and Shaniqua Artis (14 points) offering ample support.
One more home game remained for the Lakers against playoff-bound Altmar-Parish-Williamstown on Friday night, and here Cazenovia broke its mini-slump and moved within a victory of that playoff spot, defeating the Rebels 60-51.
Early in the second quarter, the Lakers threatened to break away, grabbing a 17-8 lead, but APW pulled back within three, 22-19, by halftime. Much the same thing happened in the third period as Cazenovia again led by nine, 30-21, and again the Rebels fought back, getting within two, 39-37, with more than five minutes to play.
Steadily, the Lakers regained control in the homestretch, and Burbidge closed it out with four consecutive free throws, which gave her 25 points for the night, 10 of them from foul shots. She also hit on three of Cazenovia’s five successful 3-point shots.
Johnson earned seven of her 11 points at the foul line, with Tedesco also getting 11 points and Bigsby adding eight points. APW’s Alexis Stevens led her side with 20 points.
Cazenovia (7-9) gets some rest before visiting Jordan-Elbridge on Thursday night, with the Lakers’ regular season ending Feb. 10 at Hannibal.