Feb 23, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Only in the elevated world of the Christian Brothers Academy boys basketball team could a post-season game be seen as a quiet afterthought.
The emotion and tumult surrounding the Brothers ending Jamesville-DeWitt’s 38-game win streak on Feb. 13 was tone down when Central Square came to Buddy Wleklinski Court for last Saturday’s Section III Class AA quarterfinal.
And while that could have been a trouble spot, CBA didn’t think so, as it used terrific play from its reserves and another stifling round of defense to pull away from the Red Hawks and win by a comfortable 60-42 margin on Wleklinski’s 52nd birthday.
As the no. 2 seed, CBA had a first-round bye, and that proved quite valuable. It gave the Brothers a full week to shake off the magical effects of the J-D win and focus on basketball again.
Central Square, the no. 7 seed, beat Auburn in last Tuesday’s opening round. Heavy snow on Friday kept the Red Hawks from traveling, so the game got pushed back to Saturday afternoon.
Whatever the game time, the story remained the same — Central Square had to make outside shots, or it was in trouble.
For much of the first half, the Red Hawks did keep it close, yet it got hurt when, ironically, Mike Goodman went to the bench with two early fouls.
This gave the Brothers’ reserves a chance to shine. Greg Thomson, at forward, got eight points in the half, and Pat Wiese hit a pair of 3-pointers. Their combined play, especially in a 10-2 run to close the half, gave CBA a 35-24 edge going to the break.
As a whole, the Brothers’ defense took over in the game’s middle stages, exploiting Central Square’s cold shooting by dominating the boards and applying good ball pressure. The Red Hawks’ top player, Kyle Miller, had just seven points all afternoon.
With a 10-1 run to close the third period, CBA broke the game open. Thomson would finish with 16 points, while the backcourt continued to blossom as Kevin Yarnell put up 14 points and Stefan Thompson earned 13 points. Tyler Ross, with 14 points, was the only Red Hawk to score in double figures.
In the AA semifinals, CBA will face no. 6 seed Utica Proctor, who has knocked off Cicero-North Syracuse and Corcoran so far in pursuit of a third sectional title in four years. It took half a season for the Raiders to adjust to life without star forward Deandre Preaster, but Proctor has won 10 of 11 coming into this game.
If the Brothers can beat Proctor, it will make one more trip to Manley Field House on March 7 to face Henninger or Fayetteville-Manlius with the AA championship on the line.
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