Most of the time, Jamesville-DeWitt and Christian Brothers Academy are immense forces on the basketball court.
As the calendar turns to 2007, though, the two close neighbors could not be further apart, and the events of the 20th annual CBA Holiday Classic only increased the distance.
Even with an ailing center and a hobbling superstar, the Red Rams blew through St. Joseph's (Buffalo) and Archbishop Molloy (Queens) to claim the first-place trophy and improve to 10-1.
At the same time, the Brothers lost to those same two foes and emerged with a 1-7 mark, unsure when, or if, things would turn around.
J-D arrived at the tournament with a lot of questions. It had found out that 6-10 junior center Nick Pascale was saddled with mononucleosis, so his minutes in the event would be limited as Alshwan Hymes got his chance to start.
Even more troubling, Brandon Triche had sprained his right ankle in practice the day after Christmas. The sophomore did not practice the next two days, hoping to have some effectiveness when game time rolled around.
When it did, Triche put on another blinding combination of skill and desire, helping the Rams win the tournament -- and claiming tournament MVP honors in the process.
It started Friday night, against St. Joe's, the state's no. 2-ranked Class A team. Triche, with big help from Hymes and Mickey Davis, would humble the Marauders in the course of a 75-60 victory.
Triche used a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter to help J-D break out of a 17-17 tie and assume the lead for good. Another 9-0 spurt allowed the Rams to go the break with a 34-23 lead.
Late in the third quarter, with St. Joe's still hanging around, Triche saw to it that the Marauders would not catch up.