If anyone had possibly forgotten the Christian Brothers Academy boys basketball's team high place among Central New York programs, it took one exciting performance to make them remember again.
Given little chance to knock off state Class A no. 2-ranked Jamesville-DeWitt last Friday night, the Brothers marched right onto the Red Rams' home court, rallied from a double-digit deficit, and pulled off a 67-63 victory.
It marked the first time that anyone had beaten J-D in league play since the 2002-03 season, a string of 56 consecutive games.
"This is huge for us," said CBA head coach Buddy Wleklinski. "You always want to beat someone big, and we did. What a great effort - beating J-D helps boost our confidence level."
Also, it added new fuel to an already smoldering rivalry between the two neighboring schools. CBA students spilled onto the floor as time ran out, celebrating a win that was, arguably, the program's biggest since its run to the state final four in 2003.
Perhaps it wasn't coincidence that the star of that '03 team, Greg Paulus, was in the stands Friday night, a day after his Duke Blue Devils took a tough overtime loss to Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden. Paulus's high school alma mater would fare better.
And it seemed like everyone in town wanted to see it. The crowd filled up the J-D gymnasium stands long before tip-off, forcing spectators to head upstairs to the running track so they could watch the game.
Upstairs or downstairs, the fans witnessed a classic, the only time this season CBA and J-D will play each other.
Right away, the Brothers were aggressive, especially on defense, where it forced the Rams to slow the game down. J-D had just four points in the game's first 5 1/2 minutes, and the Brothers owned a 14-8 edge by the end of the first quarter.