Cicero Nine days - and one weather postponement - had passed since the Fayetteville-Manlius boys basketball team suffered its first defeat of the season to Maine-Endwell in the Stop DWI Tournament in Binghamton.
When it finally did return to action Wednesday night, the Hornets faced another critical road test - and passed it, rallying in the fourth quarter to defeat Cicero-North Syracuse 58-51.
This was F-M's chance to show that it could rebound from a setback, as well as a departure from the state Class AA rankings. It was supposed to happen at home on Jan. 3 against Rush-Henrietta, but that got thwarted by a winter snowstorm, and will be made up later this month.
With the storms and cold weather subsiding, the Hornets found itself again on the road, this time against a C-NS side that, in its last game on Dec. 27, beat then state no.-9-ranked Webster Schroeder 72-68 in overtime.
The long breaks for both teams inevitably led to a ragged, uneven contest with plenty of missed shots, whether it was the Hornets' struggles with outside shooting (similar to what it faced against Maine-Endwell) or the Northstars' inability to make a series of good looks from inside five feet.
Both sides saw its top paint presences get into foul trouble, too. Cormac Bettinger was whistled for three fouls less than two minutes into the game and was never a factor, while C-NS's Ronnie Williams also saw his minutes limited, and would foul out midway through the fourth quarter.
John Schurman, despite hitting his first jump shot of the night, never found any sort of consistency, either. Still, he managed to lead F-M to a 24-17 lead late in the first half.
Then C-NS's star junior guard, Connor Evans, gave the home fans a jolt of energy, scoring six points in a 12-2 run to close the half, giving his side a 29-26 lead going to the break.