Feb 16, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Pat Wiese went to the foul line, dribbled and made the free throws, just as he had done hundreds of times before in practice.
Except this wasn’t practice. Seconds later, Wiese and his Christian Brothers Academy boys basketball teammates were on the floor, surrounded by close to the entire student body, celebrating one of the biggest victories in the program’s long and storied history.
When the Brothers beat Jamesville-DeWitt 67-66 Friday night at the newly-dedicated John F. Lynch Gymnasium, it put an end to the Red Rams’ 38-game win streak — and only added another chapter to what is becoming an immense neighborhood rivalry.
CBA was the last team to beat the Red Rams in December 2007. When they had met Jan. 9 at J-D, the Brothers’ furious late rally fell short as the Rams held on to win, 61-57, one of the closest calls in J-D’s long win streak that included a 2008 state Class A championship.
Buddy Wleklinski, the Brothers’ head coach, said his team did not fear J-D the way so many other opponents did, so they were able to prepare for this showdown with an extra dose of confidence.
“There was no intimidation,” Wleklinski said. “We treated it as a game against a team we played before, and our kids did a great job preparing.”
Further, CBA’s players were convinced that poor outside shooting led to that loss a month ago, and they fixed that problem in front of a packed house (all advance tickets sold out days in advance of the game) on Senior Night.
Mike Kitts set the tone with five of the Brothers’ eight 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 19 points. He helped CBA snatch the lead late in the first quarter, as the margin grew as much as 10 late in the first half.
When J-D stormed back and tied it 32-32 early in the third period, it looked to be taking over. But CBA answered and went back in front for good, as Kitts kept hitting and Kevin Yarnell put home six of his 13 points in this frame. Stefan Thompson also stood out, the point guard working his way to 14 points.
Gradually, the Rams began to show frustration, and it culminated when, with 5:40 left, senior star Alshwan Hymes (who had just six points) pursued a loose ball and, in the process, hit Wiese in the face with an elbow.
Charged with a flagrant foul, Hymes got ejected, while fans and coaches nearly came to blows on the sidelines, forcing Wleklinski to address the crowd to calm things down.
When play resumed, the Brothers clung to its lead, even though Mike Goodman fouled out and Triche took over on J-D’s side, scoring at will to eat away at CBA’s margin as time wound down.
Thompson, Yarnell and Wiese would all take turns in the final two minutes at the foul line, and Troy Bullock hit an open lay-up with 20 seconds left to make it 64-59.
Despite all this, Triche, who finished with 36 points, cut the margin to 65-63, and Wiese was fouled with 3.8 seconds left. Needing to make both of them to ice the victory, Wiese did so.
On Sunday, CBA (16-4) found out that it would have the no. 2 seed for the Section III Class AA playoffs, with a first-round bye. On Friday night, the Brothers will face the winner of Tuesday’s Auburn-Central Square game in the quarterfinal round.
Meanwhile, J-D (19-1) still had the top seed in Class A, but will be without Hymes when it faces the survivor of Tuesday’s Fowler-Bishop Ludden game on Friday night.