Many area high school sports teams had no choice but to accept long respites between games, either due to the holidays or to weather.
For Cicero-North Syracuse’s girls basketball team, though, the break was deliberate, a 16-day respite built into the schedule following a split of two games in a Dec. 21-22 tournament in Queens. This gave head coach Eric Smith all kinds of time to work on the flaws his young, but talented Northstars showed during a 4-2 start.
A 17th day was added to the break after the 24-hour postponement of last Tuesday’s game at Fayetteville-Manlius. But once the Northstars finally got back into action a night later, it mostly leaned on its defense to turn back the Hornets 48-33.
All-out pressure would cause a rash of early F-M turnovers. And that allowed C-NS (no. 12 in the latest state Class AA rankings) to get some easy baskets and take a 14-6 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Despite some inconsistency on the offensive end, the Northstars stretched that margin to 23-10 by halftime, and though the Hornets would play on fairly even terms with C-NS the rest of the way, it could not get too close either.
McKayla Roberts led the attack, scoring a game-high 15 points. Samantha Roberts had 10 points, while Elizabeth Miles managed eight points. Emilee Norris had seven points and Samantha Tortora got six points from hitting a pair of 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, Liverpool, who had gone 4-1 through the early portion of its schedule to establish itself as a main challenger to C-NS’s long-held Class AA crown, eased into 2014 last Wednesday with a 59-29 romp over Henninger.
With a consistent attack and a defense that never let the Black Knights get comfortable, the Warriors built up a 49-17 lead by the end of the third quarter before its starters went to the bench.