Feb 08, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Big as the Baldwinsville boys basketball team’s victory over Cicero-North Syracuse on Jan. 31 was, it only would gain more stature if it won any of the remaining three regular-season games in order to earn a trip to the Section III Class AA playoffs.
And on the second try, the Bees broke through, surviving a tough, harrowing battle with Oswego Friday night to edge past the Buccaneers 40-39 and secure a post-season berth because, at 8-9, it could not finish worse than .400, even if it lost Tuesday’s regular-season finale to Corcoran.
This was just the sort of game that, in seasons past, may have proved too daunting for the Bees, who prefer to run up and down the court and produce a lot of points, rather than rely on its defense to pull out wins.
B’ville managed just five points in the first quarter, but also contained Oswego, too, giving itself time to get on track. And that’s exactly what happened as the Bees, with a 16-9 push through the second quarter, took a 21-18 lead to halftime.
The Bucs caught up, 27-27, as it went to the fourth quarter, and from there every basket proved a struggle as time ran down. But B’ville was able to edge in front and stay there.
Remarkably, B’ville won without a single player scoring in double figures. Kyle George led with eight points and eight rebounds, while Cameron Skipworth had nine points, three rebounds and three assists.
Ben Diorio managed eight points and three assists as Devyn McLeod had six points and eight rebounds. Josh Lazzaro, with 16 points, and Zach Gillard, with 11 points, accounted for most of Oswego’s offense.
This followed last Tuesday night’s visit from Fayetteville-Manlius, who was sporting a 13-2 record and a five-game win streak.
For a half, B’ville did maintain contact with the Hornets, giving the home fans a reason to hope, but F-M proceeded to decide matters in the third quarter, eventually ending the Bees’ three-game win streak in a 76-52 decision.
Knowing it had to keep the pace from getting out of hand, B’ville did so and even led, 14-13, after one quarter. F-M fought through this to go in front late in the half, but the Bees only trailed by four, 32-28, at the break.
Then, like so many other great teams, the Hornets found another gear, getting away from B’ville in a 22-8 third-quarter spurt as its all-time leading scorer, John Schurman, led the way, finishing with 24 points and nine rebounds.
B’ville, battling to the end, saw Nick Alley nearly match Schurman as he poured in 21 points, most of it from five successful 3-pointers. No other Bees player hit double figures, though, as McLeod managed nine points and seven rebounds. George and Skipworth each had seven points as DiOrio managed eight assists and four steals to go with his six points.
What wasn’t found against F-M was attained at Oswego, though, and now the Bees can relax a bit and see what it gets when, a day after playing Corcoran, it finds out where it will make its long-awaited Class A sectional tournament return.