Well now it's official -- the Corcoran girls basketball team is back on top, where it thinks it belongs.
When they started out in November, practicing in relative obscurity, the Cougars may have imagined a return to the glory days of the 1990s, which included two state championships and seven Section III titles.
Few, though, imagined that it would happen this quickly.
Without a senior in its starting lineup, but with limitless amounts of heart and passion, the Cougars secured its first sectional title in nine years when it rallied in the final minute to stun top seed Oswego 45-43 in last Friday night's Class AA final at Onondaga Community College.
As Corcoran players, students and fans celebrated on the court at OCC, head coach Jim Marsh, owner of 402 career victories, said that this group's accomplishments lines compares with anything in the team's storied history.
"I can easily say that what these girls have accomplished is just as significant as the two state titles," he said. "At the start of the season, no one picked them. I couldn't be prouder of these kids. They've reestablished Corcoran as a team to beat."
Indeed, the Cougars spent much of the regular season building its 15-5 record lingering in the shadow of more noted contenders like Oswego, CBA and Cicero-North Syracuse. This came even though Corcoran beat CNS in overtime on Jan. 11, in the first of many instances where the team's ability to execute in the clutch would be on display.
That behavior would repeat itself in the AA playoffs. A string of 3-pointers by Nadia Jackson rescued the quarterfinal against West Genesee, giving Marsh his 400th career win. Then Carrie Blunt's 18 points and 21 rebounds, and the team's domination on the boards as a whole, helped to subdue CBA in the semifinal round.