Jan 15, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A pair of major opportunities sat in front of the Christian Brothers Academy boys basketball team last Friday night, waiting to be taken.
Not only could the Brothers announce its return to prominence by beating 11-2 Cicero-North Syracuse last Friday night, it could ruin the homecoming for one of the biggest stars in the program’s history.
On both accounts, CBA succeeded, fighting off a string of Northstar comebacks and prevailing, 64-60, in one of the season’s most riveting games.
John Haas was a three-sport star (basketball, football, baseball) at CBA before he graduated in 1989, and his contributions to the athletic program led to induction into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, as his plaque (along with all the others) sits right outside the gym.
Though Haas has coached the Northstars since 2002, it was the first time he had brought the team back to his alma mater, having played CBA the other times at LeMoyne College (twice) and at CNS a season ago.
Each team had a lot at stake. CBA, once 1-7, was going for its fourth win in a row, all done in eight days since J.T. Miranda returned to the starting lineup. CNS had a great record, but a win here could certify its status as a championship contender.
Playing strong man-to-man defense, the Brothers frustrated the Northstars early and built a 22-11 lead, but CNS roared back and, by halftime, had pulled in front 30-29.
The pattern continued in the second half. Twice, CBA went in front. Twice, the Northstars rallied, taking advantage of Mike Goodman’s foul trouble. When Shawn Moonan capped off a 7-0 spurt by scoring with 2:01 to play, CNS had a 60-59 lead.
But those would be the Northstars’ last points of the night. Miranda and Mike Paulus played lockdown defense down the stretch, while Marcus Sales put his team in front with two free throws with 1:22 left, and Goodman sank three more foul shots in the last minute to seal it.
Sales poured in 22 points to lead both sides. Paulus, held without a point against Nottingham three nights earlier, bounced back with 16 points, while Goodman had 12 points.
As a whole, the Brothers did a good job defending CNS’s top scorer, Pat Corbin, who had 14 points, but made just one 3-pointer all night. Laquan James led the Northstars with 17 points.
Three nights earlier, the Brothers made the short trip to Nottingham and rode the hot shooting hand of Sales to an easy 82-54 victory over the Bulldogs, its third win in a row.
Every time he got open, Sales seemed to make an outside shot. For the night, the junior had seven 3-pointers and finished with 34 points, pushing CBA to build a 67-35 lead through three quarters before all the starters sat.
Goodman had a solid outing, with 17 points, while Nate Wayne and Tim Hornstein produced eight points apiece.
Following the huge win over CNS, the Brothers will aim to push its win streak to five Friday night, when it visits Baldwinsville.
“At 1-7, everyone wrote us off,” said head coach Buddy Wleklinski. “It was just a matter of telling the kids to keep their poise, and they have. J.T. is such a steadying influence. With him back, we’re a lot more under control.”
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