All through this winter, the Skaneateles boys basketball team has stayed stuck in a neutral gear, pushed backward every time there was a chance to pull out of its struggles.
And it happened yet again in last Tuesday night’s game against visiting Marcellus, where the Lakers, despite big efforts from Bobby Leslie and Jake Peterson, lost to the Mustangs 63-52.
They had previously met Dec. 28, at Onondaga Community College, and the Lakers, despite a terrific effort, lost a tough 65-61 decision.
Now, at 4-5 and with a chance to get back to the .500 mark with its third consecutive win, Skaneateles badly wanted to square things with its neighbor and rival, but could not pull it off.
Going to the second quarter, they were tied, 15-15, but Marcellus assumed the lead before halftime. Then it spent the rest of the night fending off the Lakers’ charges and adding to its margin.
Leslie put together 18 points, hitting on a pair of 3-pointers, while Peterson got 16 points. Collin Jones (eight points) and Chris Graham (seven points) also made solid contributions.
Still, Marcellus won as Jordan Bandera put up 21 points, including seven successful free throws, while Hastings got six of his 14 points at the foul line. Mike Dillon (nine points) and Mark Tompkins (six points) helped out.
With another chance to pick up a quality win on Thursday night, the Lakers went to Phoenix, where it put together one of its best all-around efforts of the season and earned a 63-53 victory over the Firebirds.
Ignoring Phoenix’s 7-4 record, Skaneateles moved out in front early and would stay there. A 17-10 push through the second quarter spread the Lakers’ advantage to double digits, 34-24, and it spent the third period adding to that margin before the Firebirds staged a late rally that fell well short.
Chris Knupp, kept quiet in the Marcellus game, roared on this night, leading the Lakers with 18 points, while Leslie’s 17 points included three 3-pointers. Pete Knupp managed 12 points and Jones added seven points to overcome the work of Phoenix’s Dylan Doupe, who led both sides with 20 points.
Skaneateles would take its 5-6 record into a pivotal homestand this week as it met Solvay on Tuesday and takes on Cazenovia Friday night. The Jan. 27 game with East Syracuse-Minoa was moved back to Feb. 5.