Skaneateles Duncan Merritt, and everyone else on the Marcellus boys basketball team, remembered the low point of falling to archrival Skaneateles in the Carrier Dome in the Tip-Off Classic on Dec. 9.
Less than three weeks later, the Mustangs got sweet revenge right on the Lakers’ home court, this time finishing with a flourish that led to a satisfying 59-49 victory on Thursday night.
Both teams were winless when they had first played in the Dome. And it was close for three quarters before the Lakers, dominating the final period, prevailed 59-41 to ignite a five-game win streak that led all the way to the holiday break.
Marcellus, meanwhile, had regrouped a bit, but still carried a 2-5 record to the Marcellus rematch. Just the sight of the opponents in white and gold seemed to push the Mustangs, particularly Merritt, to a much higher level of play.
The Mustangs hit on every kind of shot in the first quarter and roared out to a 22-12 lead, only to not match that production in the next two periods combined.
This gave Skaneateles ample time to catch up, but it could not do so, still finding itself behind 40-36 with one period left. Bent on avoiding a repeat of the late-game debacle in the Dome, Marcellus would get away in the fourth quarter.
Merritt led all the way through the night, pouring in 25 points, including a trio of 3-pointers. Mike Dillon offered the main support, with 12 points, while Wyatt Stehle had six points. In defeat, Austin Gardner led Skaneateles with 19 points, with Ben Eppolito adding 10 points.