Rams battle past Brothers, 46-41

Though it may sound strange, Jamesville-DeWitt and Christian Brothers Academy both got what it wanted Friday night at a jam-packed Buddy Wleklinski Court.

The Brothers managed to dictate the game's pace, exactly what it had to do if it wanted to knock off the two-time defending state Class A champions - just as it did 11 months ago.

But the Red Rams earned the most important prize - the victory, a hard-fought 46-41 decision that, at least for senior guard Lamar Kearse, had a particularly high value.

"It's almost as good as winning a state championship," Kearse said. "We heard all week about how CBA beat us a year ago. It made us want it more."

Kearse was referring, of course, to J-D's 67-66 defeat to the Brothers on this same court on Feb. 13, 2009. Unlike many other local foes, CBA has shown a tendency to match the Rams' intensity in all their head-to-head collisions through the years.

This would be no different - and J-D needed the test, having sailed through its first seven games, all victories, without any real drama while averaging 88 points per game, best in Section III.

"We did what we had to do to win in (CBA's) gym," head coach Bob McKenney said. "In big rivalry games, the game's aren't pretty, but this will help us get better."

Indeed, it was exactly what CBA envisioned, in that the Rams often put up 46 points before halftime against most opponents, and it would need all 32 minutes to get to that point here.

Still, the Rams never trailed, and that was a tribute to its own defense, which forced a series of early turnovers. Early in the second quarter, J-D had built an 18-8 lead.

But CBA stayed patient, keeping two starters, Jameel Balenton and Pat Wiese, on the court despite both of them getting two early fouls.

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