Rams earn state Class A basketball crown

Good teams find ways to win championship games. Great teams dominate championship games.

Jamesville-Dewitt's boys basketball team proved itself to be a great team at last weekend's New York State Public High School Athletic Association final four in Glens Falls.

After dispatching defending champion Peekskill 74-55 in Saturday's semifinal, the Red Rams pulled away from a stubborn East Hampton squad with a 21-4 run and cruised to a 78-54 victory in Sunday's class A final at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

It's the second state title in five years for J-D, but the first for a senior class that had been criticized for failing to win the Section III title the previous three years.

"The first (state title in 2004) was thrilling because it was a two-point game, and it went down to the wire," said J-D coach Bob McKenney. "This one was very satisfying. The kids came out and had a great weekend."

Sunday's final seemed almost anticlimactic after the Red Rams (24-2) defeated a Peekskill team that beat them by three points (63-60) back on Dec. 28 at a tournament in White Plains, but the championship game had its moments.

After trailing by double digits most of the second half, East Hampton (23-2) cut J-D's lead to 57-50 three minutes into the fourth quarter and had a chance to make it a two-possession game if it hit its next shot.

The Red Rams never let that happen. Mickey Davis scored four consecutive points to rebuild J-D's double-digit lead. Then Alshwan Hymes scored off an East Hampton turnover and was fouled on the play. Hymes made the ensuing free throw to put the Red Rams up 64-50, and the rout was back on.

"We knew they were going to make a run," said Hymes, who finished with 14 points off the bench. "We just had to keep our composure and work through their run."

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