Cazenovia Chris Carpenter said that his main goal, when taking over as head coach of the Cazenovia girls basketball team this winter, was to bring the fun back to a program that reached the state Class B final four in 2011, but struggled plenty a season ago.
Well, if a 6-0 start is any indication, the Lakers sure are having fun now.
In what was, by far, its most impressive effort of the season, Cazenovia made it six in a row by rolling past visiting Skaneateles 54-34 Thursday night at Buckley Gym.
Everything worked, from full-court defensive pressure that caused 24 Skaneateles turnovers to an attack that saw its aggression pay off at the start of each half with sustained scoring runs.
This Laker duel was supposed to be Cazenovia's biggest challenge so far. Skaneateles arrived with a 5-1 record and an impressive inside-outside combination in the form of junior center Joanna Dobrovosky and sophomore guard Elizabeth Lane.
However, Skaneateles was missing its other 6-foot starting forward, Mary Buck, with an ankle sprain she suffered in a loss to Westhill a week earlier. Without her, the visitors watched as Cazenovia's front line, anchored by Maggie Carpenter, Kaitlyn Gerber and reserve Maggie Johnson, controlled the boards most of the night.
But the bigger story was how Cazenovia's perimeter play totally threw Skaneateles off. While seeing full-court pressure was nothing new for Skaneateles, it simply could not handle the constant heat provided by guards Kristie Kleine and Taylor Mimms, who forced Lane and Brittany Welch into rushed passes that ended up in Cazenovia hands.
Kleine had just as big an impact on the offensive end, giving an indicator as to how the night would go by banking in a 3-pointer to cap a game-opening 7-0 run. With Kleine getting seven points and Gerber contributing six points in the first quarter alone, Cazenovia bolted out to a 21-8 lead by the end of the period.