Big road tests on consecutive nights early last week would give the Cazenovia and Chittenango girls basketball teams a good indication of where it was strong – and what still needed work.
For the Lakers, the trip went to Bishop Ludden, winners of the last two Section III Class B titles, but moved up to Class A this winter amid major changes.
Still, the Gaelic Knights had enough on hand to beat Cazenovia 43-25, a game where, again, the Lakers’ defense was superb, but it paid for not producing more.
Ludden not only moved up a class, but saw its all-time leading scorer, Danielle Rauch, graduate (she’s now at Michigan) and head coach Nicole McManus leave for Liverpool, replaced by Carm Petrera.
This was the Gaelic Knights’ opener, and Cazenovia, coming off a win over Solvay Nov. 29, limited Ludden to seven points in the first quarter.
However, the Lakers could not take advantage of this, held to five points in the opening period and just two in the second quarter. By the time it started to convert on a regular basis, Ludden had a double-digit advantage.
Lindsey Lawson finished with 10 points, while Julia Bauder had seven points. Katie Ammann had four points as, for the Gaelic Knights, Aurora Deshaies had 11 points, with Lauren Petrie (eight points) and Grace Murry (seven points) close behind.
Chittenango was next, going to Skaneateles Tuesday night to face the same Lakers team it beat in its Nov. 30 opener, helped by a triple-double from Ally Shoemaker.
This immediate rematch went in a different direction, though, as once again the home team came out on top and the Lakers got even, handing the Bears a 62-46 defeat.
Essentially, this game got decided in the third quarter. Chittenango led through most of a closely-fought first half, taking a slim 25-24 advantage to the break.
But early in the second half, Skaneateles caught fire from the field while, at the same time, containing the Bears, all part of a 21-6 push that accounted for most of the eventual margin.
Mekenzie Dahlin had 18 points and five rebounds, with Cassidy Kelly getting 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Shoemaker had 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals as Olivia Dobrovosky lit it up for the Lakers, pouring in 27 points.
A week passes before the Bears are in action again – and that rest is needed, because next Tuesday’s visit from Hannibal is the first of three games in five days, Chittenango hosting Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Thursday before a Dec. 15 meeting with Bishop Grimes at Onondaga Community College’s Allyn Hall.
Meanwhile, Cazenovia takes on Homer next Monday night at Buckley Gym and visit Central Valley Academy two nights later.