Droughts on both ends of the floor hurt Fayetteville-Manlius when they were trying to overcome a deficit late in the game against Cicero-North Syracuse and led to a 70-51 loss.
F-M (2-6) spent most of the third quarter cutting into the 6-point halftime deficit and trying to regain the confidence and the mojo that they had when they beat Bishop Grimes, but, the final minutes of the quarter saw them get outscored 15-2.
The run was very deflating for the Hornets, who were without Henry Josephson for the game, as it came immediately after they climbed back in the game and cut the deficit to 38-36.
Josephson’s illness would hurt the Hornets whenever the opportunity arose, something that head coach Jason Dudzinski brought up in one of the chalk-talks. He reminded his team that they haven’t been aware of all of the things that Josephson does when he’s on the floor
And that was apparent throughout the loss. Yes, they did miss him under the hoop when they had to grab a rebound, but, they missed his presence on every defensive possession. As Dudzinski has emphasized throughout the season, Josephson is the only player who consistently communicates on defense, which is a major reason why the Hornets really missed him.
Still, Josephson’s absence shouldn’t take all of the blame for the loss. The Hornets weren’t at the top of their game and were struggling to execute and follow through with the simplest things and fundamentals of basketball, which was a direct result of the lack of focus and effort.
But it wasn’t only F-M’s woes that led to the loss. The C-NS squad showed that they are a good team and play well together. Their leading scorer for the game, Lukas Merluzzi, was doing it all. He finished with 16 points, six rebounds, five assists, and seven steals.
Timmy Zapisek of F-M tried to give their team a spark early in the contest. Zapisek twisted his ankle early in the game but just walked it off. The senior made two three-pointers, accounting for half of his point total.
His teammates, Jawaan Crouch and Nick Perry, also found a way to get through their struggles and impact the game. Nick Perry scored eight points and Crouch recorded nine points and knocked down a three-pointer.
A disastrous end to the third quarter sent the Josephson-less Hornets home with a frustrating loss.