Feb 27, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
On its way to a 20-1 mark and the top of the state Class A rankings, the Christian Brothers Academy has cast aside most of the possible troubles in its path.
However, to get the Section III Class A championship, the Brothers will need to topple its closest neighbor — and biggest rival — for the third time this winter.
CBA and no. 2 seed Jamesville-DeWitt will clash Saturday night at 5:30 at Onondaga Community College, with the Class A title on the line.
To make this possible, the no. 1 seed Brothers had two playoff tests it had to pass through — which were done with the same frightening ease by which CBA has knocked off most foes this winter.
As for J-D, it had its own struggles at times, but made it to OCC with the same kind of impressive style.
After a first-round bye, the Brothers put together another offensive eruption against no. 8 seed Camden in the Class A quarterfinals, all part of a 76-48 romp over the Blue Devils.
Not content with a 23-12 lead through one period, the Brothers just kept on scoring until, by halftime, it enjoyed a 50-19 advantage.
Four players hit double figures. Amanda Billy led the way, with 17 points, while Kayla Stroman and Sarah Paulus got 12 points apiece. Leanne Ockenden came off the bench to earn 10 points. CBA hit eight 3-pointers on the night to add to its OHSL single-season record.
Now came Saturday’s Class A semifinal, a battle with no. 4 seed New Hartford played at a location (Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) where the Spartans would have plenty of vocal support.
None of that mattered, of course. Breaking it open late in the first half, the Brothers again used its uncanny shooting ability to shoot down New Hartford, 67-43.
Carrying a modest 26-21 lead late in the second quarter, CBA hit the throttle and put together an 11-0 run before halftime to make it 37-21. The Spartans never recovered from this flurry.
This time, the Brothers had 10 3-pointers. Stroman hit half of them on her way to 20 points, while Ockenden had four treys to account for most of her 17 points. Meredith Mosley stepped up for nine points, as Billy (eight points) and Paulus (four points) had quiet outings.
As for J-D, it enjoyed its own first-round bye – but once it started, the Rams were put to a big test by no. 7 seed Mexico in last Tuesday night’s Class A quarterfinal, but had enough nerve and heart to outlast the Tigers 49-44.
Mexico dictated much of the game’s pace, preventing J-D from the running style it wanted and overcoming the Rams’ 15-8 start to pull within one, 33-32, going into the fourth quarter.
In fact, it was tied well into the fourth quarter before the Red Rams used a 7-0 run to pull ahead for good, overcoming the struggles Danielle Weekes (four points) had all night.
Brittany Cohen helped ice the game with her free-throw shooting. She finished with 19 points, 12 of them from successful free throws, while Alyssa Gratien came off the bench to get 11 points. Caitlin Tessier and Amanda Koenck had six points apiece.
Mexico stayed in it by spreading its offense around, as Angie Josbena and Abby Smith each had 11 ponts and Evie Josbena added eight points.
Now came Saturday’s Class A semifinal against no. 3 seed Indian River, played at Sandy Creek.
The big challenge involved containing Warrior forward Chloe Armstrong, who torched Whitesboro for 43 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists in the previous round.
Not only did the Rams meet the hurdle, it jumped right over it, rendering Armstrong and the rest of the Warriors close to ineffective in a 72-49 romp.
To keep Armstrong from issuing the same kind of numbers she did against Whitesboro, the Rams would issue full-court pressure from the start, daring IR’s guards to try and get past them.
It worked, to perfection. As Armstrong waited to establish herself inside, J-D was forcing a rash of turnovers and turning them into a string of baskets on the other end.
By halftime, the Rams had built a 35-17 edge, and it got even more potent in the third quarter, building the lead to 58-30 before easing up in the late going.
Gratien continued to increase her presence in J-D’s attack, earning 16 points. Koenck also had 16 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Cohen got 14 points. Weekes had eight points and Tessier gained seven points. Armstrong managed just 14 points as IR’s leading scorer.
Both times J-D met CBA in the regular season (on Dec. 19 and Jan. 31), it ended in one-sided wins for the Brothers. Weekes was able to establish herself inside in each of the games, but CBA’s pressure defense and deadly 3-point shooting proved too much to overcome.
The third time around, J-D hopes it will be different, resulting in the team’s first sectional championship since 1998.
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