11 straight points for Tyler Schneider to begin the best quarter of the year paved the way to Fayetteville-Manlius’ 57-47 road win over West Genesee.
That third quarter saw F-M (5-6, 1-5) use Schneider’s hot hand to create separation and give themselves a little margin for error, something that it hasn’t had for most of the season. And then the Hornet defense intensified even more in the third quarter and forced West Genesee (3-6, 1-4) to fall into their arms.
Prior to heating up at the beginning of the second half, Schneider hadn’t had a good shooting night, but his head coach, Jason Dudzinski, told him that he had to find a way to get himself going. Schneider listened, went to the rim in F-M’s first possession out of the locker room, and got the easy two points.
Up until that point, the Hornet offense was stagnant for the most part. Other than 10 points from Khai Pugh in the first quarter, they weren’t taking advantage of their aggressive defense that was containing West Genesee.
Schneider jump started the offense and led the way as it went on a 15-2 run in the third quarter. However, Dudzinski said that the Hornets didn’t go on the run because of how good they were offensively and reminded his team that the run wouldn’t have existed without the great defense they played.
It was the first time where the Hornets had things working on both the offensive and defensive ends. They have been a pretty good defensive team throughout the season, and that continued Thursday, but the offensive struggles that they have had were invisible, which is a good sign, especially considering the fact that all of the problems were highlighted against Liverpool on Tuesday.
The biggest difference between this and the Liverpool game is effort. F-M played as hard as it could from start to finish and made this a game that it can build off of as it tries to claim three more victories to clinch a playoff berth.
Effort was key in the win, but there were other things that contributed to the success. The Hornets played as a complete team, moving the ball and just playing team defense, something that Dudzinski has valued since being named head coach in May 2016.