SYRACUSE Here was a case where, in a very literal sense, everyone involved in Saturday night's "Hoops for the Hospital" high school basketball doubleheader between Bishop Ludden and Bishop Grimes at Onondaga Community College's SRC Arena ended up a winner in some way.
Grimes won, in that the girls Cobras prevailed 47-41 in the first portion of the twin bill. Ludden won, in that the reigning state Class A champion Gaelic Knights pulled away in the fourth quarter of its game and claimed a 64-49 decision.
Above everything else, the main winner was Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital and its Upstate Cancer Center. All of the proceeds from the day-long event, which included OCC basketball and a girls game between Penfield and Horseheads, went to the More Than A Game Foundation, which benefits the hospital and its cancer-fighting work.
It all started with the girls contest, a game where Ludden led most of the way, only to see Grimes use strong defense and clutch free-throw shooting to pull through.
The Cobras managed just two field goals in the opening period, yet only trailed 9-5. Despite eight first-half points from Kelly Granteed, the Gaelic Knights were unable to build any kind of margin, and Grimes fought back to tie it, 18-18, going to the break.
They traded baskets in the third quarter until Ludden got six straight points from Nicole Granteed, Gemma O'Kane and Aubrie Murray to move back in front 33-27, and again it had a chance to pull away.
But after Nicole Granteed fouled out early in the fourth quarter, the Gaelic Knights' offense dried up. Grimes used its superior depth to keep applying pressure, and at one point Ludden went more than six minutes without a field goal.
Still, it wasn't until Maria Gronau made two free throws with 2:47 left that the Cobras moved in front for good, 38-37. And it was still 42-39 in the final minute before Jordan Vaught sealed the victory by making four consecutive foul shots, giving her 14 points for the night.