Jamesville-Dewitt boys basketball head coach Bob McKenney and his No. 1-seeded Red Rams squad wanted a shot at revenge. A chance to atone for the upset defeat they suffered in last season's Section III Class A semifinals against New Hartford.
J-D's wish was granted as they beat up on the Fowler Falcons 78-55 in last Saturday's Class A semifinal at Onondaga Community College.
"We're really excited about getting the opportunity to get back at them," McKenney said. "They're playing their best basketball of the year right now. It should be a great game and we're looking forward to the challenge."
The Red Rams (20-2) implemented a suffocating full-court press and a balanced scoring attack to dispose of the fifth-seeded Falcons who had won nine straight coming into the contest.
Right from the opening tip, J-D bothered Fowler with their press. They made it hard for the Falcon players to advance the ball past half-court and run any kind of offense.
The Red Rams' offense was solid as well. All-State junior guard Brandon Triche came ready to play and erupted for 11 first quarter points as he showed off his all-around game on a variation of jumpers and tough drives to the basket.
"We wanted to play hard up and down the court tonight and get as many shots off as possible," Triche said. "We attacked the inside, rebounded well against a smaller team and got out on the break."
Although J-D played equally well on both offense and defense, Fowler still managed to keep up in the early going, thanks in large part to point guard Elonzo Wilson's ability to create and the aggressive drives of juniors Chris Gilkes and Ronald Monroe. This enabled Fowler to keep the score close after the first period, 21-19.
But any hope and promise the Falcons showed in the opening quarter soon disappeared as the Red Rams continued to fluster them and get hot from the perimeter.