Any time the Skaneateles and Marcellus boys basketball teams get together, records get forgotten and the intensity ratchets up.
Playing once more on Dec. 28 at Onondaga Community College, the Lakers led at halftime, only to see the Mustangs make a big third-quarter surge and hang on to hand Skaneateles a 65-61 defeat.
An active first half saw the Mustangs surrender an early lead as Skaneateles moved out in front in the second quarter and carried a 32-28 lead to the break.
Everything changed, though, in the third period, as Marcellus exploited holes in the Lakers’ defense and outscored them 25-15 in those pivotal eight minutes. Then it stayed calm as Skaneateles charged at them down the stretch, making several crucial free throws.
Bobby Leslie led Skaneateles with 16 points. Pete Knupp put in 12 points, with Chris Knupp contributing eight points. Eli Goodell, Colin Foehl and Jake Peterson got six points apiece.
Jordan Bandera led the Mustangs (4-3) with 19 points, with Mike Dillon close behind as he got 16 points. Mike Melnyczuk, with 11 points, also hit double figures as Mike Hastings (eight points) and Wyatt Stehle (six points) helped out.
Looking to recover at home Friday against Syracuse’s Institute of Technology Central, the Lakers, mired at 2-5, rose up to deliver a superb defensive performance in the second half against the favored Eagles and prevail by an impressive 58-43 margin.
Right from the start, Skaneateles made sure that 5-3 ITC didn’t get the fast tempo it wanted. As a result, despite some long scoring droughts, the Lakers stayed within range and only trailed by five, 23-18, going to the break.
Then, just as with Marcellus, the third quarter proved pivotal – only in the Lakers’ favor this time. Leslie and Peterson kept hitting shots as Skaneateles outscored the Eagles 20-10 in this frame, more points than in the entire first half.
Pulling away late, the Lakers saw Peterson earn a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, plus four blocks, with Leslie also getting 18 points to go with four assists.
Collin Jones managed nine points and four assists as Colin Foehl stepped up with eight points, five of them free throws. ITC’s Rensley Chandler led both sides with 19 points.
This started a three-game homestand for the Lakers, who hosts Jordan-Elbridge on Wednesday before a Jan. 14 rematch with Marcellus.