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Rams start 3-0, ride Triche to tourney title

In few places would the two-year absence of a championship be constituted as anything close to a drought.

Yet Jamesville-DeWitt is such a place, with a boys basketball team fully expected to win championships each winter.

In the two years since it won a state Class A title in 2004, the Red Rams have met with surprising exits -- in the Class A final to Mexico in '05, and in the A-2 semifinals to Indian River in '06.

Those defeats have only made J-D hungrier. As head coach Bob McKenney and his players began 2006-07, the Rams were determined to have no one get in the way of a push toward more glory in March.

To that end, the team's schedule is loaded with big challenges, from a Dec. 17 meeting with Niagara Falls at Manley Field House to its annual appearance at the CBA Holiday Classic with powers like Archbishop Malloy and St. Joe's.

The journey began last Wednesday night, at Mexico, where J-D started quickly and never let the Tigers get off the mat on its way to a 71-51 victory.

Before Mexico could get settled, J-D had decided the matter by racing out to an 18-5 advantage through one quarter and a 39-18 lead by halftime.

Though sharp-shooting Greg Stern was quiet, the other Rams stars were not. Inside, Nick Pascale established himself with a team-best 17 points.

On the perimeter, highly-touted sophomore Brandon Triche drew heavy amounts of pressure, as usual, but still put up 16 points, while Mickey Davis got seven of his 15 points from the free-throw line.

From a defensive standpoint, the Rams did a good job of containment on the Tigers' most dangerous player, hot-shooting guard Ben Ariola, holding him to 13 points and just a pair of 3-pointers.

This led directly to J-D's annual Tip-Off Tournament, a gathering that, for 2006, included New Hartford, Corcoran and Massena.

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