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Spartans Lose Conference Opener to Lakers

Chris Kirkland led the Spartans with 18 points in a loss to Finger Lakes CC on Thursday.
Chris Kirkland led the Spartans with 18 points in a loss to Finger Lakes CC on Thursday.

Cayuga Community College Men's Basketball lost its conference and regional opener to Finger Lakes Community College on Thursday.

The Spartans held a slim lead for much of the contest but couldn't overcome a late Lakers rally, falling 84-79. The game was Cayuga's opening contest against a Region III and Mid-State Athletic Conference opponent for the 2023-24 season.

Both defenses controlled the start of the game, forcing turnovers and tough shots. Cayuga took the lead with nine minutes remaining on free throws by Jorge Jimenez, and the lead grew to nine after layups by Jimenez and Tony Borges and a jumper by Alejandro Castellanos. The Lakers fought back to take a brief lead late in the half, but free throws by DJ Johnson put the Spartans back in front by one before the break.

Cayuga led early in the second half, but a three-pointer with seven minutes remaining put the Lakers in front. Finger Lakes' lead grew to 77-70 with three minutes left, but a jumper from Borges and free throws by Castellanos and Chris Kirkland cut the margin to 77-75 with less than two minutes left.

The two-point deficit was as close as the Spartans came though, with the Lakers scoring the next four points to secure the win.

Kirkland and Borges paced the Spartans' offense, with Kirkland finishing with a team-high 18 points and Borges adding 16 points and 13 rebounds. Castellanos finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, and Johnson finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

The loss leaves the Spartans 0-2 this season. Cayuga is back home Saturday to host another conference and regional opponent, Tompkins Cortland CC. Tipoff is scheduled for 3pm at Spartan Hall.