SYRACUSE For the majority of Friday night’s girls basketball game between Cicero-North Syracuse and Horseheads at Onondaga Community College's SRC Arena, it looked like the Northstars would win easily. But in a flash, the Raiders erased a 10-point deficit and tied the game late in regulation.
The state Class AA no. 12-ranked Northstars remained calm, however, and held the no. 19-ranked Raiders in check at the end, while also converting when it needed to on the offensive end to survive a 48-45 win that improved its mark to 12-3 ahead of Tuesday night's big showdown with 13-1 West Genesee.
“It was nice to hold at the end when they (Horseheads) made a push at us,” C-NS head coach Eric Smith said. “We didn’t lose our wits about us. We made some buckets down the stretch and held on.”
The Northstars played well in the first three quarters, steadily building its lead from four (12-8) after the first quarte and doubling it to eight points, 22-14, by halftime, and then to double digits, 39-29, after the third with a Beth Bonin 3-pointer that beat the buzzer.
Yet in the fourth quarter, Horseheads used a 13-3 run to tie up the game, pulling even, 42-42, on Amanda Schiffen's basket with slightly less than two minutes to play.
But the C-NS defense forced a Horseheads turnover on the Raiders next possession, and when it got the ball back, Samantha Tortora broke out of a double team and found Elizabeth Miles, who hit the basket and was fouled with 52 seconds left. Miles made the free throw, and the Northstars led again, 45-42.
Emilee Norris grabbed a crucial offensive rebound with less than 40 seconds left after Samantha Roberts missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity from the line. Then McKayla Roberts sealed the win with three free throws in the waning seconds.