Before it even entered the Section III Class AA playoffs, the Christian Brothers Academy girls basketball team have proven its credentials against large-school foes.
The Brothers beat Fayetteville-Manlius and Liverpool during the Jan. 29-30 Central Square Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament, a key factor in the team gaining the no. 2 seed for the AA tournament.
And when that tournament began with Thursday night's AA quarterfinal against no. 7 seed Utica Proctor at Buddy Wleklinski Court, CBA was ready, taking the Raiders apart as it rolled to a 62-32 victory.
Proctor began the season as a prime contender, but was never the same after its star junior guard, Brianna Kiesel, went out for the season with a broken wrist.
At full strength, the Brothers wasted little time smothering the Raiders, pulling off through one of its trademark fast starts as it blitzed toward a 20-4 lead before the first quarter was done.
After a brief cooling-off period, CBA regained its big edge in the third quarter, outscoring Proctor 16-8 to assure that there wouldn't be a comeback.
Leanne Ockenden, in the last home game of a storied career that has left her as CBA's all-time leading scorer, poured in four more 3-pointers to account for half her 24 points.
The depth showed, too, as all nine players that saw action got at least one field goal. Michelle Damico, with nine points, and Michelle Wiese, with seven points, led that pack as Maris Romeo and Katie Webster each got five points. CBA won big while getting just three total baskets from mainstays like Ellen Voorheis and Victoria Johnson.
CBA now will face no. 3 seed Corcoran in the AA semifinals, to be played Friday at 6 p.m. at Liverpool High School. The winner gets Cicero-North Syracuse or Fayetteville-Manlius in the title game March 6 at Utica Memorial Auditorium.