Three Syracuse city high school boys basketball teams set out for the Section III playoffs Tuesday night - and nearly all of them won in the opening round.
Nottingham, the no. 6 seed in boys Class A, needed two overtimes and an improbable buzzer-beater to withstand the challenge of no. 11 seed Indian River and prevail 56-54.
All game long, the Warriors dictated the tempo with long possessions and a zone defense, and neither side could make a sustained run. Down 46-44 as time wound down in regulation, the Bulldogs kept itself alive on Cameron Isaac's drive and basket with 3.1 seconds left.
Twice, Nottingham had chances to end it. Fouled on his tying basket, Isaac missed the possible winning free throw, and it went to overtime where, with 1.9 seconds to play, Mabior Mayen was fouled with his team down 50-49. Mayen made the first -- but missed the second.
In the second OT, Nottingham and IR were tied again, 54-54, when Mayen blocked a Jarrod Mattingly shot and, with 5.6 seconds left, the Bulldogs got the ball.
Bullock, who already had 17 points on the night, got the chance to win it. As he took the shot, three Warrior defenders flew at him -- but the shot fell anyway.
Bullock, Jawan Simmons (16 points) and Mayben (10 points) will be present when the Bulldogs face no. 3 seed Whitesboro in Friday night's Class A quarterfinal. The winner gets Cortland or Bishop Ludden in next week's semifinal round.
Elsewhere, Syracuse Academy of Science, with the no. 3 seed in Class D, blasted no. 14 seed Madison 99-47 in the first round, falling just short of the century mark as it led 32-4 after one period and never letting the Blue Devils catch up.
In all, 13 players for the Atoms scored, eight of them earning at least seven points in a well-balanced attack as Lavell Ellick, Kaleel Johnson (15 points each) and Marques Young (13 points) led the way. SAS hosts no. 6 seed Otselic Valley (who edged Poland 40-38) in Friday's Class D quarterfinals, the winner getting DeRuyter or Oriskany in the semifinals.