Feb 17, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
As a culminating moment of its climb back to respectability, the East Syracuse-Minoa boys basketball team would get a clean shot at toppling the dynasty just down the road.
The Spartans’ chance in this Friday’s quarterfinal against top seed and two-time defending state champion Jamesville-DeWitt was earned through a tense, exciting first-round game at no. 8 seed Oneida, where it nearly blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, yet held on to beat the Indians 56-55.
This wasn’t any huge surprise, since the Spartans came in with a 10-8 mark, more than double the win total it had a season ago, and had the positive experience of winning a road playoff game at Indian River last winter to draw from.
Still, the Indians handled ESM’s 6-0 start and dominated the rest of the first quarter, outscoring the Spartans 15-6 to seize the lead, at least for the moment.
In the second period, the Indians again came out slow, as ESM notched the first eight points. This time, Oneida could not quite make it up, and the Spartans 27-24 at the break.
Quadear Mike took over in the third quarter. Whatever the Indians tried to stop Mike, the Spartans’ guard got around it and hit another basket. All told, he had 14 points in that single period (he finished with 22), and suddenly ESM led 49-38 with one quarter to go.
Oneida’s Matt Tamburro would not let his side surrender, though. He had 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter as the Indians ate away at ESM’s advantage, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
With 19 seconds left, Tamburro hit another basket, cutting ESM’s lead to one. Immediately, the Indians fouled Greg Raab, who could not make the front end of a one-and-one basket.
Oneida got the rebound, and set up a chance at a game-winning shot. As the time ticked down, Mitch Dubois flashed open, but his jumper was off the mark.
Just 0.4 seconds showed on the clock when Evan Watson, grabbing the rebound as he neared the out-of-bounds line, signaled for a time-out.
All the Indians had time for was a catch-and-shoot play. The ball got into Tamburro’s hands and he quickly fired — but it was short, and the Spartans lived on.
ESM saw Sharif Nero (13 points) and Steve Lothridge (10 points) join Mike in double figures.
The J-D-ESM boys game is the second part of a doubleheader which starts with the girls Spartans meeting the Red Rams in another Class A quarterfinal at 6 p.m.
Back in East Syracuse, in Class B’s opening round Tuesday night, Bishop Grimes, the no. 2 seed, relied on its star trio of Mike Stone, Mike Sugamosto and Kucjok Ater to blow past no. 15 seed Bishop Grimes 84-60.
The Cobras spent the first quarter tearing through a porous J-E defense, scoring 28 points. And when the Eagles went dry in the second quarter, Grimes had a chance to stretch out the margin, to 46-27.
Even though J-E’s Tom Graf would hit on 27 points, the Cobras maintained its comfortable margin the rest of the way, and the stars had much to do with it.
Stone had 23 points, right on his average, while Sugamosto posted a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds and Ater chipped in with 14 points. Freshman Casey Evans had seven points as Elias Hibbard contributed six points.
Grimes stays home for Friday’s Class B quarterfinal against no. 7 seed Adirondack, who ripped through Ilion 59-32 to get this far.
As part of the doubleheader, the unbeaten Bishop Grimes girls, with the top seed in Class C, will face Onondaga in its quarterfinal round. Games start at 6 p.m.