On a night where leading scorer Khai Pugh was sidelined due to a violation of team rules, Fayetteville-Manlius struggled to execute offensively and lost to Cicero-North Syracuse, 56-37.
Up until the middle of the third quarter, when the C-NS lead was cut to six, F-M was finding ways to stay in the game, whether it was the confidence from the bench or just the will to win, but the effort that it took to cut into that lead took everything out of F-M’s tank and allowed C-NS to pull away.
The real turning point in the game came at the end of the third quarter, when Hornet sophomore Charlie Gadsden went up for a layup and no call was made and then C-NS hit a three-pointer to gain a nine-point advantage going into the fourth.
No matter how you look at this game, the Hornets lost because they didn’t score enough. That sounds cliché, but it’s the way it was. They were decent defensively until that third quarter run, but scoring was just a difficult task.
That’s where they missed Pugh. They didn’t have the creativity that he provides. They didn’t have a pure scorer who can help them get a few points when they are in a slump. And they were missing the guy who attracts more than one defender to create open shots for his teammates.
Still, F-M didn’t do the things offensively that are necessary to win a high school basketball game.
It’s easy to say that they just couldn’t score, and that’s true, but it was more than that. It seemed as if there was something covering the basket throughout the game, which has been a common theme throughout this year.
The Hornets missed a variety of point-blank shots, including a number of layups, and that’s the tone that was set early on, when they missed some easy opportunities and found themselves down 6-0 in the opening minute and a half.
F-M’s tough defense in the first two-and-a-half quarters was negated by how much it missed Pugh and his scoring ability from the start. The Hornets play again Friday, when they host Nottingham. C-NS visits Liverpool Friday as well.