Feb 20, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Many different times, it appeared that the East Syracuse-Minoa girls basketball team would earn its biggest win in years – and end Jamesville-DeWitt’s season at the same time.
Yet the Red Rams kept rescuing itself, past regulation and two overtimes, and knocked off the Spartans 57-53 in Friday night’s Section III Class A quarterfinal.
It marked the second pulse-pounding finish of an ESM-J-D game on the Red Rams’ home court. The first, back in December, had seen the Spartans burned at the buzzer by Alyssa Gratien’s 3-pointer.
Now it had more meaning. Both ESM, the no. 6 seed, and J-D, the no. 3 seed, had plenty of senior experience on their respective rosters, and every bit of that poise would be needed here.
Familiar with each other, the two sides stayed close to each other in the first half, ESM nudging in front 22-21 before the break.
Then J-D made its biggest move, holding the Spartans to six points in the third quarter to take a 32-28 lead and nearly getting away.
But the Spartans did not fold. Instead, it snatched back the lead in the fourth quarter, led by Becky Teschler, who finished with a team-high 16 points.
With time running out in regulation, ESM was up 43-40 – but again, the Rams saved itself against the Spartans with a clutch 3-pointer, this one from Theresa Hernandez, and it went to overtime.
The first four-minute OT saw ESM again move ahead, only to again squander it, Gratien’s 3-pointer keying the latest J-D rally.
Only in the second extra period did the Rams pull ahead for good. it took a basket from freshman reserve Kayleigh Cavanaugh, plus five combined free throws from Jessica Kramer and Gratien, with Gratien getting the clinching points.
Kramer and Hernandez both had big nights, as Kramer earned 22 points and Hernandez gained 16 points before fouling out in the first OT.
Gratien had 12 points, but the mere fact that she was on the court was extraordinary because, two days earlier, she was hospitalized for pain that turned out to be multiple kidney stones.
Aside from Teschler, Mallory Buckley (11 points) and Chelsea Medler (10 points) also hit double figures, while Olivia Luciani scored nine points.
And this was just the first part of an ESM-J-D playoff basketball doubleheader.
Of course, the second part proved a bit less dramatic, as the state no. 1-ranked Red Rams blew out the Spartans by a score of 91-38.
ESM had eliminated Oneida in the first round – but even if the Spartans brought its best possible game, it might not have been enough against a Red Rams team determined to play at its own (very fast) speed again a week after a 51-49 regular-season finale thriller with CBA on Feb. 12.
The onslaught began and never let up, as J-D led 24-8 after one period, then got even better in the second quarter, stretching the margin out to 51-17.
And so it continued, the rest of the night, even after the Rams’ starters were long gone. Lamar Kearse led with 24 points, half of it from four 3-pointers as DaJuan Coleman added 13 points.
Zach Firestone and Armel Nanaj each had 11 points and each hit on three 3-pointers. Tyler Cavanaugh (nine points), Jailaan Kinsey (seven points) and Brandon Franklin (six points) contributed, too, as Quadear Mike led ESM with nine points and Sharif Nero got seven points.
In the Class A semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m. at Chittenango High School, J-D will meet no. 4 seed Utica-Notre Dame, who edged past Fowler 48-46, then beat Watertown 65-57 to get this far.
J-D beat UND in last year’s sectional final. If the Red Rams can again contain the Jugglers’ all-time leading scorer, Pat Moore (who had 36 points against Watertown), it will advance to the March 7 final at Utica Memorial Auditorium against Bishop Ludden or Notttingham.
Meanwhile, the J-D girls team will meet no. 2 seed Cortland in the Class A semifinals Saturday at 3 p.m., also at Chittenango, with the winner to face Carthage or New Hartford in the title game March 6, also at Utica Auditorium. J-D and Cortland split their regular-season meetings, each side winning on the road.