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City teams clean up in sectional playoffs

On a single Tuesday night, four different Syracuse city high school basketball teams moved ahead in the opening round of the Section III playoffs -- two of them expected, the other two not so much.

Fowler, in Class A, continued its late-season surge by beating Oneida 70-50. Nottingham defended its home court in Class AA, beating Oswego 68-50, while Corcoran ignored its 5-15 record and stunned Cicero-North Syracuse 51-48.

And in its first-ever sectional playoff appearance, Syracuse Academy of Science went to McGraw and recorded a 69-50 victory over McGraw in the Class D-1 opening round.

Even though it only had a regular-season mark of 3-14, SAS, in its second season at the varsity level, decided to participate in the playoffs -- something allowed because the tournament has an open format where anyone can play if it wants to.

As it turned out, SAS's schedule (playing Class C teams in the OHSL Patriot division) gave it just the right amount of seasoning for the playoffs -- something it would show against McGraw, the no. 10 seed in the Class D-1 bracket.

Down 14-11 after one period, SAS took over in the game's middle stages, outscoring the Eagles 44-24 in the second and third periods to go ahead for good.

Synike White led SAS with 24 points, while three of his teammates -- Josh Goins, Kadeem Johnson and Lavell Ellick -- earned 10 points apiece. SAS will travel to face no. 2 seed Oriskany (14-6) in Friday night's D-1 semifinals.

Corcoran's success at CNS was just as big of a surprise. The Cougars had only gone 5-15 in the regular season, far off their normal standards, and had lost to the Northstars back on Jan. 11.

All of that didn't matter in the playoffs, though, as Corcoran pulled in front by outscoring CNS 18-11 in the second period.

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