This breakthrough of a season for the Baldwinsville boys basketball team would hold true regardless of what took place in Tuesday night’s Section III Class A quarterfinal against long-time power Utica Proctor.
Still, the no. 7 seed Bees wanted to upend the no. 2 seed Raiders, but that signature post-season win would prove elusive as the Raiders took an early lead and kept B’ville from catching up the rest of the way, leading to a 68-55 defeat.
In years past, B’ville would have a much better idea what to expect from Proctor since they both belonged to the CNY Counties League. But the Raiders left for the Tri-Valley League two seasons ago, limiting the exposure for teams like the Bees.
But what remained true was that it was difficult for any visiting opponent, in any class, to win in Proctor’s gymnasium – even someone as hot as B’ville, who had won seven of eight, including its 52-45 opening-round playoff win over Corcoran.
To its credit, B’ville did avoid falling behind 10-0, as it did with Corcoran, mostly matching baskets with the Raiders throughout the first quarter before a late surge helped Proctor grab a 21-14 lead.
That set up the game’s pattern. Any time the Bees tried to make a run, the Raiders had a ready answer, stretching out the lead in the second period until it reached double digts and B’ville found itself behind 40-29 at the break.
Early in the third quarter, the Bees again moved closer, to 45-39, but again Proctor stood firm, and moved the margin to 54-44 by the time they reached the final period.
Battling to the end, B’ville saw Ben DiOrio notch 15 points, while Nick Alley got 12 points and Devyn McLeod got close to another double-double, earning 10 points and nine rebounds. Kyle George added six points.