Ludden flies past Chittenango, Kearney

Yes, the folks at Bishop Ludden are still basking in the bright glow of the football team's first-ever state championship.

They even celebrated the occasion at a school assembly in the gymnasium on Friday, the main highlight being football head coach John Cosgrove fulfilling a promise to his players and getting his head shaved on the court.

Hours later, many of those same gridiron heroes put on their basketball shorts and kept that good vibe going, overcoming a rough start to beat the Chittenango Bears 61-51.

Much change and upheaval surrounded Ludden as this season began, giving head coach Pat Donnelly one of his toughest tasks in his long and storied tenure.

In the off-season, the Gaelic Knights did not join the Class AA school's exodus from the Onondaga High School League to the CNY Counties League.

Instead, it was slotted into the OHSL Freedom division and designated a Class A school, meaning that it would, for the most part, play a brand-new set of opponents and get just one game against "Holy War" rival CBA, on Jan. 11 at LeMoyne College.

Then came the football team's storied run, which meant that Donnelly didn't have his full complement of players until Nov. 26. That didn't affect the schedule too much, though Ludden did move its scheduled opener with Class A powerhouse Jamesville-DeWitt until January.

Of the five starters that took the floor against Chittenango, four -- Daquan Grobsmith, Connor Sweeney, Wendall Williams and James Braithwaite -- played football, with Frank Smith the lone exception.

By contrast, the Bears had already played five games, all on the road, and had gone 3-2. So it came as little surprise that, out of the gate, Chittenango had all the rhythm and timing Ludden lacked, gaining a 9-0 lead before the Gaelic Knights could even get a basket.

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