Jan 27, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Even when the Henninger boys basketball team won its third straight Mayor’s Roundball Classic at the end of 2008, it could not quite claim the title as the city’s best team just yet.
True, the Black Knights beat Nottingham and Fowler to earn the big trophy — but it didn’t have to face Corcoran, who fell to Fowler in the opening round of the Mayor’s Classic, yet proceeded to build a 10-4 record by the late stages of January.
Only beating the Cougars could make Henninger the city’s true kings — something it pulled off last Saturday afternoon by coming from behind in the second half to prevail by a score of 69-56, a game where, once again, senior point guard Kihary Blue took charge.
Blue, who was the MVP of the Mayor’s Classic, used his quickness to drive to the basket and, other times, displayed his outside scoring touch with four 3-pointers. For the day, Blue had 29 points, a new career mark.
Already, both sides had earned quality wins during the week — Henninger by winning at Liverpool 59-49 on Jan. 20 to take first place in the CNY Counties League National division, Corcoran by toppling Fayetteville-Manlius 69-60 as it bounced back from an overtime loss to Utica Proctor earlier in the week.
Though it was playing on back-to-back days, the Cougars did not show any early signs of fatigue. Despite Blue notching 12 of his points in the first quarter, Corcoran kept pace, then used an 8-0 run late in the second quarter to go in front, taking a 29-24 lead to the break.
Not only had Corcoran found its way through Henninger’s vaunted defense, it had also put the Black Knights’ best forward, Jermaine Taylor, in foul trouble.
Henninger head coach Erik Saroney sensed this might happen, so he started both Taylor and 6-6 center Jon Cooper to make sure that one of them was out there guarding Corcoran’s fast-rising junior forward, Algeron Torrence. It worked, as Torrence got just eight points, behind teammates Georvon Harris (15 points) and Mike Stenson (12 points) at the end.
Still trailing 35-30 in the third quarter, Henninger turned it around with a 13-2 run to go ahead for good. Blue kept converting, but Taylor helped, too, overcoming his foul trouble to get all eight of his points in the second half, plus 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Miller took on a larger role as Henninger started to pull away in the fourth quarter. Of Miller’s 16 points, 10 came in the second half as his deft inside moves complemented what Taylor and Blue were doing.
All this left Henninger, no. 19 in the latest state Class AA ranking, at 12-2 on the season. The Black Knights have a real chance to snag the top seed in the upcoming Section III Class AA playoffs — if it could overcome the challenge of playing five of its last six games on the road. Each of Corcoran’s last five games is on the road, too.
Meanwhile, in the Class A ranks, Fowler continued to impress, crushing East Syracuse-Minoa 71-47 to improve to 8-6 in advance of this Friday’s game at Bishop Ludden.
Turning to girls action, Corcoran was riding an 11-game win streak until its leading scorer, Irene Hudson, fell ill in advance of last Friday’s game at F-M.
Without Hudson, the Cougars lost a 63-54 decision to the Hornets, as a 19-3 second-quarter outburst put F-M ahead for good. Five different Corcoran players had eight or more points in a balanced attack, led by Brittini Ray’s 11 points. But the Hornets had Emily Trapani set a career mark with 22 points and Torie Lee add 14 points.