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Nottingham, SAS move ahead in sectionals

In a wild and exciting week, both Nottingham and the Syracuse Academy of Science made it to the second week of the Section III boys basketball playoffs.

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 in an opening-round classic.

Then the Bulldogs traveled east to face no. 3 seed Whitesboro in Friday's quarterfinals -- and came through again, using strong defense to eliminate the Warriors 50-42.

Constant pressure led to a string of Whitesboro turnovers in the first half, as Nottingham worked its way to a 26-16 advantage. Fighting back, the Warriors closed within four, 37-33, by the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs held on.

Jawan Simmons had 16 points, just as he had against Indian River, while Cameron Isaac stepped up for 14 points. Mabior Mayen added nine points.

With that, the Bulldogs advanced to face another surprise entry, no. 10 seed Bishop Ludden, in the Class A semifinals Saturday at 5:30 at LeMoyne College, with the winner to get Jamesville-DeWitt or Utica-Notre Dame in the March 7 finals at Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Syracuse Academy of Science, with the no. 3 seed in Class D, blasted no. 14 seed Madison 99-47 in the first round, and much the same thing happened in the quarterfinal round on Friday as SAS tore apart no. 6 seed Otstelic Valley in an 84-42 romp.

Again, the Atoms roared out of the gate, leading 23-8 after one period, and kept on adding to that margin the rest of the night as it used its speed and depth to overwhelm Otselic.

Both Lavell Ellick and Dakeem McLain came up with 22 points, while behind them Josh Guins (13 points) and Yusef Jones (12 points) also reached double figures.

In the Class D semifinals Friday at 6 p.m. at Onondaga Community College, SAS will face no. 2 seed DeRuyter, who is 21-0 but needed overtime to get past Oriskany in the quarterfinal round. Should the Atoms win, it will meet New York Mills or Sackets Harbor in the championship game in Utica.

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