Jan 11, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For all that was on the line Friday night when Jamesville-DeWitt and Christian Brothers Academy squared off, it still came down to a single player imposing his will on the whole affair.
That player, Brandon Triche, spared the Red Rams from yet another defeat the Brothers’ expense, earning his team’s final seven points to push J-D to a 61-57 victory, its 30th in a row.
An overflow crowd in J-D’s gymnasium took hold of the spectacle, filling the bleachers and ringing the track that overlooks the court long before tip-off. They all remembered that it was CBA who had last beaten the Red Rams 67-63 on this same floor back in December 2007.
More importantly, J-D, the defending state Class A champions, remembered that game, and carried no small amount of motivation into the contest, determined to establish its own fast tempo and not let the Brothers slow things down.
Thanks to Alshwan Hymes, the Red Rams did get the start it wanted. All by himself, Hymes outscored CBA in the first quarter, 12 points to the Brothers’ 10, and Triche tacked on eight points of his own as J-D roared to a 22-10 lead.
Yet as the second quarter wore on, the Brothers began to slow things down, whittling the margin to six before a 7-0 push late in the half allowed the Rams to take a 33-21 advantage to the break.
Other than Triche and Hymes, J-D was light on the offensive side. Still, it played strong defense to cover up those mistakes, and by the late stages of the third quarter, the Rams had a 47-29 lead, seemingly headed toward another lopsided win.
CBA made sure that didn’t happen, though.
Spurred on by Greg Thomson, who had 10 points off the bench, the Brothers overcame foul trouble and used a 13-2 run to pull within single digits. The margin then shifted, whittling down to five, 54-49, despite a long Hymes 3-pointer.
When Hymes tried another quick trey with 2:10 left, CBA looked to have a chance to get closer — but Triche leaped in and dunked in the rebound. Less than 20 seconds alter, Triche drove to the basket and slammed it home again, and it was 58-51.
Still, the Brothers refused to fold. After an exchange of baskets, it got within 60-55 on a Mike Goodman layup, then watched DeJuan Coleman miss two free throws before Stefan Thompson drove in and converted with 13 seconds to play.
Only up by three, 60-57, J-D got the ball to Triche, who was fouled with 10.5 seconds left. The Syracuse University-bound senior missed the first foul shot — but made the second, which clinched J-D’s closet wins of the season to date.
For the night, Triche had 26 points, while Hymes got 19 points and Coleman added nine points. Goodman set the pace for CBA with 19 points, most of them from sinking 13 of 14 free throws. Thompson had nine points.
In its warm-up for CBA, the Red Rams went to Phoenix last Tuesday and comfortably worked its way to a 77-50 victory over the Firebirds.
From the time it started out 25-9, J-D kept control and toyed with Phoenix, allowing 11 different players to get field goals.
Triche and Coleman each had 12 points, with Hymes adding 10 points. Lamar Kearse got nine points, with Zach Chinomua (seven points) and Zach Firestone (six points) close behind. Drew Compeau (12 points) and Jon North (11 points) both scored in double figures on Phoenix’s behalf.
The CBA win was just the right tune-up as the Red Rams now turned its attention to another huge challenge — this Saturday’s trip to New York City’s Baruch College to face Lincoln, the state’s top-ranked Class AA team, in the Big Apple Classic, which follows games against Fulton and Fowler.