The Hornets needed to get off to a good start and did. The Hornets needed to perform well on the defensive end and did. The Hornets needed the win and got the 53-45 win over East Syracuse-Minoa.
Going into the victory, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys basketball team was both frustrated and encouraged by the way that its season was going. It has been obvious that this F-M team is better than head coach Jason Dudzinski had last season, but the past few games haven’t lived up to expectations.
Dudzinski’s team had dropped the previous three games to teams in its league. And, in those losses to Corcoran, Cicero-North Syracuse, and Nottingham, the Hornets just struggled to score and fell behind more and more because the ball wouldn’t fall into the cylinder.
Slow starts were what those games had in common. F-M (4-4, 0-3) turned that around on Wednesday, when they treaded water in the first quarter and then broke free by halftime.
That’s one of the ideas that was consistent in F-M’s practices leading up to this contest. Dudzinski kept on reiterating the fact that they can’t begin the game in an offensive slump. And, even though they scored just nine points in the first quarter, their defense kept them in the game until they found a rhythm offensively.
Moreover, as Dudzinski said at halftime, it was defense that allowed them to pull away in the second quarter. In the locker room, Dudzinski reminded his team that things will always fall into place offensively if you play with effort and heart on the defensive end.
But the Hornets didn’t come out of the halftime locker room with the defensive stamina that they had to begin the game. They allowed 15 points in the entire first half, but went on to let ES-M to reach that total in both the third and fourth quarters.
Defense will continue to be a priority for the Hornets going forward. Their next game is on Wednesday, at Henninger, and ES-M (2-3, 1-1) visits Watertown this Friday.