Cazenovia forward Madison West (41) drives to the basket in last Thursday’s game against Chittenango, where the Bears held on to beat the Lakers 42-41.
Any girls basketball game between neighbors Cazenovia and Chittenango is spicy enough, but it’s made more so by the fact that Cazenovia graduate Kassie Kleine now coaches the Bears.
And it was again last Thursday night, with Chittenango needing to hold on in the game’s closing moments to earn a 42-41 victory over the Lakers.
This was Cazenovia’s first game since Dec. 21, when it lost to Skaneateles. The three-week gap included two weather postponements, but the Lakers were not rusty, at least in the early going.
Both sides found success on the offensive end in the first quarter. Chittenango led, 16-14, only to get shut down in the second period as it was held to just four points.
Cazenovia was colder, though, so the Bears were up 21-16 at the break, a margin it maintained until the fourth quarter, when the Lakers nearly made it back, thanks to Lindsey Lawson.
All that Lawson did was put up 27 points, more than half her team’s output. Hannah Matteson had 11 points, but other than those two, Cazenovia got just one field goal, a 3-pointer by Katie Ammann.
Meanwhile, the Bears leaned on Ally Shoemaker, who amassed 23 points, six steals and five assists. Emily Moon helped with nine points, eight rebounds and three steals as Cassidy Kelly got six rebounds and Sydney Bennett had four steals.
Two nights earlier, Chittenango had defeated Solvay 42-27, in large part because the Bears opened strong, gaining a 14-5 lead on the Bearcats by the end of the first quarter.
Nursing that lead the rest of the way, Chittenango had Shoemaker get 14 points, nine steals, five assists and three rebounds, while Moon had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Kelly (seven points, five rebounds) and Mekenzie Dahlin (six points, five rebounds, three assists) helped out as Solvay’s Haley Muehl had nine points and 13 rebounds.
Chittenango takes on ITC/Fowler and Phoenix this week as Cazenovia takes on Homer.