By setting a fast pace and not letting up at any time, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team blazed to the championship at the annual Fulton Savings Bank Tournament and improved to 3-0.
It started with Friday night's opening round, when the Northstars battled Fulton in front of a big crowd that braved the stormy conditions to reach the CNS gym.
CNS exhibited red-hot shooting, stellar defense and a decisive rebounding advantage - a performance that carried the Northstars to a 75-58 victory over the Red Raiders.
Amid a well-balanced offensive distribution, senior guard Pat Corbin led all scorers with 22 points, adding nine rebounds. Senior guard Chad Armstrong contributed 12 points and four rebounds, while Laquan James got 10 points and Shawn Moonan was perfect in shooting (three-for-three) with nine points.
Both Corbin and Armstrong converted on four 3-point field goals, with Jeff Falvey, Jon McCormick and Steve Jensen adding six points apiece. Matt Vescio (18 points) and Alex Baker (14 points) led Fulton's effort.
On Saturday afternoon, CNS met Central Square in the finals, as the Red Hawks had beaten Oswego 74-64 in the other opening-round contest.
Once again, the Northstars put together an impressive performance, knocking out Central Square by a score of 75-60 -- nearly identical to the Fulton game.
This game was competitive until midway through the fourth quarter, when CNS seized control of the game and took off to an impressive finish.
The first half was fast-paced. CNS raced out of the gate to a 10-6 lead, but Central Square put the brakes on the CNS offense and stormed back with a 7-2 run. The Red Hawks' Kyle Miller took over, scoring his team's last eight points of the period. At quarter's end, the Northstars clung to a 19-18 lead.
In the second period, both teams continued to race up down the court trading baskets. Central Square had a brief lead 25-24 lead midway through the quarter. At that point, CNS resumed control when guard Laquan James drove three straight times to the basket for six points, helping to produce a 36-32 halftime advantage.