Nov 30, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
All sorts of important events mark the start of the high school basketball season in Syracuse, including a fitting honor for a departed coach.
On Friday and Saturday, Henninger High School will again play host to the Peppino’s Classic, six games featuring top local teams and visitors from the Section V ranks.
The feature on Friday night is a rematch of last year’s memorable Section III Class AA final between Henninger and Christian Brothers Academy, to tip off at 7:45 after Utica Proctor faces Rush-Henrietta.
Prior to the Henninger-CBA game, the court in Henninger’s gymnasium will be dedicated in honor of Joe Mazella, who led Henninger to 245 wins in 15 seasons as head coach, including a state championship in 2002. Mazella, who was serving as Henninger’s vice principal, passed away on Sept. 12 at his home in Eastwood at the age of 51.
Game action will continue on Saturday, starting at noon when Bishop Grimes faces Bishop Ludden. At 2 p.m., two-time defending state Class A champion Jamesville-DeWitt faces reigning state Class B champion Bishop Kearney, with Fayetteville-Manlius taking on Fairport at 4 p.m. Henninger returns to close out the event by facing Gates-Chili at 6 p.m.
All this followed a Thanksgiving weekend where Syracuse’s Institute of Technology made a successful varsity debut — and, on the girls side, Corcoran may have established itself as the team to beat in the Class AA ranks.
ITC managed to win its first-ever varsity game in the opening round of the DeRuyter Tournament, defeating Gilbertsville-Mount Upton (Pa.) 56-36.
Showing no first-game nerves, ITC outscored G-MU in every quarter, steadily building a 28-19 halftime lead and pulling away in the late going.
Jebron Thomas and Saquan Dozier each had 15 points to lead a well-balanced ITC attack, with Jahcin Ingram close behind as he got 14 points. Frederick Dodd added six points.
In the final against host DeRuyter 24 hours later, ITC lost to the Rockets 63-52. Here, in a reverse of the opening round, DeRuyter won every period, getting a huge effort from Sean Rutherford, who had 26 points, including four 3-pointers. Brett Vosburg got 10 of his 16 points at the free-throw line.
In defeat, ITC saw Ingram work his way to 19 points, with Dozier adding 13 points. Thomas had six points, with Chris Myers and Jinnah Clark each picking up five points.
As this was going on, the Corcoran girls basketball team, in pursuit of its second Class AA championship in three years, took a major step forward by winning the Lady Raider Classic in Utica — and knocking off two prime contenders along the way.
First, the Cougars knocked off defending AA champion Cicero-North Syracuse 40-34, a major opening statement.
The Northstars featured sophomore center Breanna Stewart, the area’s most highly-touted prospect. Yet Corcoran, knowing that CNS had three new starters, allowed Stewart to be productive (she finished with 23 points), while holding her teammates to just four combined field goals.
Only ahead 16-15 at halftime, the Cougars used a 13-8 push through the third quarter to build a margin CNS could not overcome. Coreisha Hickey led the way, with 19 points, while Ayana Bradley picked up 10 points.
This led to a dramatic Saturday final against host Utica Proctor, and the two sides fought into overtime before the Cougars edged past the Raiders 62-61.
Gradually, Corcoran overcame a 16-10 first-quarter deficit despite a remarkable effort from Proctor’s star forward, Brianna Kiesel. All Kiesel did was score 31 points, adding nine steals.
The two sides traded baskets throughout the fourth quarter, which ended in a 54-54 tie, and again in the four minutes of overtime. Only when Nadia Jackson hit a clutch free throw in the final seconds did the Cougars go in front for good.
Overall, Jackson had 19 points, a vast improvement from her four-point effort against CNS, as she hit on three 3-pointers. Hickey had 18 points, while Bradley earned nine points.