If the Jamesville-DeWitt girls basketball team wanted to pick up just a bit more of an edge before hosting Christian Brothers Academy next Thursday night, then it's been quite successful in these early days of 2010.
On the same Cortland court where the Brothers lost its first game of the season earlier in the week, the Red Rams did not meet the same fate, instead showing confidence and poise down the stretch in pulling out a 52-49 victory over the previously unbeaten Purple Tigers.
They came into this game right next to each other in the state rankings - J-D at no. 10, Cortland at no. 11. Neither side had lost in the OHSL Freedom division, so first place in the league was on the line.
This game started exactly like the CBA-Cortland game, in that the visitors took control early, then relinquished it before halftime.
J-D was superb on the defensive side in the first quarter, holding Cortland to just two points. But the Purple Tigers quickly figured things out, hitting on every kind of shot in the second period and forcing a 22-22 tie.
Now it was the Rams' turn to adjust, cooling Cortland down and eventually taking a 39-33 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Again, the Purple Tigers came back, reeling off nine unanswered points to go in front 42-39 with less than four minutes left. Nicole Ortega tied it up with a 3-pointer, and the two sides then exchanged baskets and free throws as the tension grew.
With less than a minute to play, J-D trailed 49-47, but the Rams knew that, with Alyssa Gratien, it had a player who wanted the ball in late-game situations - as she had shown with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat East Syracuse-Minoa earlier this season.
Already with 19 points, Gratien flashed open again and, with 54 seconds left, tried another 3-pointer - and drained it, her fourth trey of the night. It put J-D ahead 50-49.