Another weekend in March, another trip to Glens Falls -- and another happy ride home with plenty of room on the bus for trophies and other honors.
Such is the life of the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team, who earned an undisputed claim to being the best Class A team in the state by earning the title at the Federation Tournament of Champions at Glens Falls Civic Center.
First, the Red Rams shook off lots of lethargy to beat Transit Tech 66-49 in Friday night's semifinal round. Then in the championship game against Long Island Lutheran, the battle went back and forth before J-D hit the big shots in the end and prevailed, 70-66.
Unlike years past, the state public and Federation Tournaments were not held on back-to-back weekends, due to the early observance of Easter.
Instead, once J-D beat East Hampton March 16 to claim the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A title, it had to settle into a 12-day waiting period before pursuing the Federation crown.
Even with daily practice, a basketball team going nearly two weeks between games is bound to lose some of its sharpness -- something J-D found out, the hard way, once it returned to Glens Falls on Friday.
In the way, at first, stood Transit Tech, the champions of New York City's Public School Athletic League (PSAL). Unlike the frenzied atmosphere of its previous visit, only a few hundred fans rattled around the Civic Center for this contest.
And for a while, the stale play of the Rams matched the stale atmosphere. Little happened in the early minutes until Alshwan Hymes, in his role as the Rams' designated sparkplug, came off the bench and delivered six points late in the period, giving J-D an 18-10 edge.
J-D maintained that margin through much of the second quarter, only to let a series of turnovers (it finished with 20 on the night) give Transit Tech a chance to recover. At the break, the Rams led by just five, 29-24.