Feb 20, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Amid the Corcoran girls basketball team’s quest to claim its first Section III title since 1999, it helped head coach Jim Marsh reach a personal landmark.
Marsh earned his 400th coaching victory Tuesday night, when the no. 3 seed Cougars rallied to beat no. 6 seed West Genesee 41-35 in the Class AA quarterfinal round.
With that victory, Corcoran (16-5) advanced to face no. 2 seed Christian Brothers Academy (19-2) in this weekend’s AA semifinal. The winner plays Oswego or Cicero-North Syracuse for the championship on March 1.
Corcoran hired Marsh in 1984. In the 24 years he’s been coaching, Corcoran has claimed two state championships, earned in 1993 and 1998, plus seven sectional titles.
Many of his players have gone on to star in the college ranks, too — and several Corcoran alumni were in attendance on Tuesday to watch a tense contest.
From an early 10-6 advantage, Corcoran went into a prolonged slump over the game’s middle stages. Still, the Cougars’ defense made sure West Genesee did not get away, as it trailed by just two points, 28-26, going to the fourth quarter.
Still down with less than four minutes left, Corcoran’s Brittini Ray took over. On consecutive possessions, Ray, who had not converted a field goal all night, hit huge 3-pointers, the latter of them coming with 2:10 to play to tie the game 35-35.
As the defense continued to make big stops, the Cougars’ Nadia Jackson hit the tie-breaking 3-pointer with under two minutes left, and three more points sealed the victory.
Up until the end, Irene Hudson had accounted for most of Corcoran’s offense, as she ended up with 14 points. No Wildcat player reached double figures, as Amanda Cizenski led with just eight points and leading scorer Alyssa Sutherland was held to six points.
As for CBA, it reached the semifinals Tuesday night by using a strong second half to get past Fayetteville-Manlius 54-37.
Following a first-round bye and an 11-day break from games, the Brothers hit the playoff stage.
Thanks to a vastly improving defense and the reemergence of Kayla Stroman as a potent offensive weapon, CBA took out the Hornets.
Eager to start, the Brothers jumped out to a 17-8 advantage, only to go cold in the second period as F-M erased its entire deficit and took a 22-22 tie to halftime.
Gradually, CBA would regain control in the second half and keep it. The relentless defensive pressure applied by Sarah Paulus, Jamie Carrick and Michelle Damico wore down the Hornets and led to a closing 19-6 spurt.
Meanwhile, Stroman, who has faced bouts of inconsistency this winter, took full advantage of the open looks she got as F-M’s defense concentrated on preventing Leanne Ockenden from getting her shot.
Stroman connected on five 3-pointers and finished with 25 points, getting big help from Paulus, who got 17 points, as Ockenden (despite all the attention) still had 10 points. By contrast, no F-M player scored in double figures, with Caroline Helmer (nine points, all from three 3-pointers) coming closest.