For the second time this winter, the Liverpool boys basketball team had to face a significant portion of its schedule without one of its key players.
Back in December, it was Jeff Edwards sitting out four games. Now it's Hector Oyola sitting that same amount of time, not returning until a key Feb. 5 contest at Henninger.
In the meantime, the Warriors had to go on, and at first it proved unsuccessful as, on Thursday night, Liverpool lost for the second time this season to Utica Proctor by a 66-47 margin.
Just 24 hours later, Liverpool was in Oswego, and would get a different result. A big night from Caleb Taylor and key contributions from the likes of freshman Tyler Sullivan, pushed the Warriors past the Buccaneers 67-62.
It ended up quite similar to the first encounter between Liverpool and Oswego, which the Warriors pulled out 63-62 on Dec. 18 due to a pair of free throws from Taylor with four seconds to play.
Again, foul shots would factor into the outcome - but not before an active contest that saw the Bucs hit first with an 11-3 run late in the first quarter to grab a 17-10 lead.
Taylor helped the Warriors battle back, notching 11 of his game-high 24 points in the second period, including the last four to push his side ahead for good. Liverpool was up, 37-34, at the break.
All through the third quarter, any time Oswego tried to catch up, Sullivan would pry loose and make a 3-pointer. He had one in the opening seconds of the half and got two more late in the period, including one at the horn that stretched the Warriors' lead out to 54-46. Sullivan finished with a season-high 15 points.
With less than five minutes left, Liverpool had a 61-50 cushion, but Oswego wasn't done. The Bucs rattled off nine straight points to cut the margin to 61-59, most of it from the brother tandem of Ryan and Dylan Lavner, who finished with 18 points apiece.