With a pair of high-profile home victories, the undefeated Corcoran boys basketball team became a clear-cut Section III Class AA favorite -- and proved, at least, that the balance of power in city basketball may have shifted south.
And with its own high-profile win in the Thruway Shootout Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse, the Corcoran girls team improved to 3-0 and, again, showed it could handle late-game pressure.
The boys Cougars had only played once (rallying to beat Vestal) prior to last Wednesday's game against city rival Henninger. But Corcoran used strong, consistent defense and scoring balance to pull away and register an impressive 66-46 victory over the Black Knights.
Already ahead, 14-10, going into the second quarter, Corcoran built on that margin by holding Henninger to just seven points the rest of the half to make it 28-17 going into the break.
Through an active third period, the Cougars maintained that margin, then got away in the late stages by wearing Henninger down, leading to turnovers and baskets.
A quartet of Corcoran seniors scored in double figures, led by forward Algeron Torrence, who had 15 points. Close behind, guard Riley Stroman had 12 points, while fellow guard Martino Barletta had 11 points and guard Marsean Brown produced 10 points. Brandon Reed helped out with seven points. By contrast, only one Henninger player, Kadeem Johnson (10 points), hit double figures.
This served as a prelude to Friday night's exciting battle with Fayetteville-Manlius, whose 2-0 start had included wins over Fairport and Liverpool. By switching up its defense and making all the key plays down the stretch, Corcoran rallied for a 56-52 victory over the Hornets.
Here, it took a while for the Cougars to get on track, as it fell behind 17-8 in the first quarter. And it still trailed, 30-20, at the break, so while it was doing a good job containing F-M's leading scorer, Brian Zapisek, Corcoran had to change its approach, or risk defeat.