If the Jamesville-DeWitt girls basketball team goes and captures its first Section III title in a decade, it will do so by overcoming key injuries.
The bad fortune began on Dec. 7, as the Red Rams were pulling out a tough 54-45 win at Phoenix. In a collision near the basket, senior forward Amanda Koenck fell to the court -- a sight that looked all too familiar to J-D fans that had seen her lose parts of two previous seasons to torn knee ligaments.
When the diagnosis came back, it was the worst possible news -- a torn left ACL (the same as in 2005), and Koenck's season was over. Just like that, a cornerstone to the Red Rams' championship aspirations was cut out.
To its credit, the Rams plugged sophomore Jessica Kramer into the lineup, then went to Glens Falls the next day and beat Malone (Section X) the next day.
Following some time to rest, J-D went back to OHSL Freedom division play last Friday night and pummeled Chittenango in a 58-26 decision.
Playing lights-out defense, the Red Rams held the Bears to just 10 points in the first half and built a big lead, the outcome never in question.
Brittany Cohen assumed her usual starring role, earning 18 points, while Alyssa Gratien added 12 points, including three successful 3-pointers. Molly Maroney (eight points) and Leah Porter (six points) helped out, too.
Now the Rams honed in on Saturday's battle with Section V power Pittsford Mendon at the inaugural Syracuse/Rochester Shoot-out at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
Once again, the injury bug would bite the Rams in a big way, and though it would make a spirited comeback, J-D would suffer its first loss of the season to the Vikings by a score of 59-54.
In the first quarter, Mendon set a physical tone -- so physical, in fact, that on a collision Alyssa Gratien went to the ground. She left the game with an injured knee, not to return.