Brothers beaten by Cortland, Rush-Henrietta

Given all the turmoil and parity within the Section III Class AA ranks, the Christian Brothers Academy boys basketball team stood a real chance of rising up to the top seed for the upcoming sectional playoffs.

Then, in a span of 24 hours, those dreams took a colossal blow, from sources both expected and unexpected.

The Brothers dropping a 59-53 decision to state-ranked Section V power Rush-Henrietta in the Rochester suburbs Saturday night, which wasn't a big surprise.

What was a complete shock, though, was CBA going to Cortland the night before and losing 59-52 to a Purple Tiger squad barely above the .500 mark.

For a long time, Cortland slowed the tempo down, an attempt to counteract the Brothers' depth and limit the number of possessions. It worked, especially in the first half, when CBA fell behind and stayed in a 23-18 deficit going to the break.

But with Mike Goodman working his way to 23 points, CBA caught up, 32-32, by the end of the third period and fully expected to seize control in the fourth quarter.

Instead, Cortland reclaimed the lead, then kept answering every time the Brothers tried to inch closer as the Purple Tigers earned one of its biggest wins in recent memory.

It helped that Cortland had some balance in its offense. Other than Goodman, no CBA player hit double figures, with Stefan Thompson (eight points) and Greg Thomson (seven points) getting close.

By contrast, the Purple Tigers had three players reach that mark. Trevor Williamson led with 19 points, while Jeff Brown got 14 points and Justin Hogan earned 10 points.

With the bad taste of this defeat still lingering, CBA now had to go west to face Rush-Henrietta, where one rough stretch proved costly.

Only down 16-12 after one period, the Brothers watched as the Royal Comets held them to eight points in the second period and built its margin to 32-20. Even though CBA ate into that margin in the second half, it could not catch up.

Goodman topped his Cortland showing with 24 points, but again he didn't get a lot of help, as Thomson (nine points) and Thompson (eight points) loomed far behind. Dane Miller, who is going to Rutgers next fall, led Rush-Henrietta with 20 points.

Two huge games loom this week, as CBA hosts defending Class AA champion Henninger (a team it beat back on Dec. 13) on Wednesday before going to Onondaga Community College Friday for another edition of the "Holy War" against Bishop Ludden.

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