At some point or another, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team had to band together and play at a level worthy of someone situated at no. 5 in the state Class A rankings.
That moment came in last Friday night's game against Bishop Ludden. In a first-half blitz, the Red Rams made the Gaelic Knights look small and slow, fully dominating affairs as it went on to win by a score of 67-50.
In every manner, the game contrasted from their first meeting 13 days earlier, in Geddes. At that time, J-D needed a last-second rebound basket from Mickey Davis to escape with victory.
No escape was needed in the rematch. Instead, J-D resolved to run right at Ludden, a tactic that would prove quite successful.
It all began on the defensive side. Mixing up zone and man-to-man looks, the Rams kept up the pressure, forcing turnovers that led to easy baskets on the other end.
Each of J-D's three main stars -- Davis, Brandon Triche and Nick Pascale -- converted often, getting 20 points between them as it led 23-10 at one point late in the period.
What was more, they all blocked shots when Ludden tried to drive to the goal, keeping the ball in play for the fast breaks on the other end.
By halftime, the margin had grown to 47-28, and though J-D never could sustain that high level of play in the second half, the damage had already been rendered.
Pascale finished with 20 points, with Triche close behind as he got 18 points. Sophomore Lamar Kearse continued his larger role in the team's plans, matching Davis with 10 points and giving Ludden one more explosive player to worry about. Greg Stern had seven points. In defeat, Wendall Williams led Ludden with 13 points.
Before running into Ludden again, the Red Rams tuned up by going to Mexico last Tuesday and wearing out the Tigers in an 89-55 rout.
All game long, J-D kept the pace torrid, leaving Mexico far behind. It was 43-27 by halftime, and the Rams kept it up against Mexico in the second half, even if it wasn't needed.
Triche, fresh off his 36-point outing against Cicero-North Syracuse, cooled off a bit -- but still got 22 points, as Pascale gained 16 points and Davis earned 15 points, with Kearse earning nine points. Josh Moore (14 points) was the Tigers' top scorer.
J-D will be heavily favored in its remaining three regular-season games, including a Friday-night trip to Phoenix.