Jan 18, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Through seven games, and seven one-sided victories, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team had learned little about itself.
But that’s all changed now. What the Red Rams accomplished in a crowded 48-hour stretch — three close wins against three high-quality opponents, done in three different ways — might resonate through the rest of the team’s quest to win a third consecutive state Class A championship.
First, J-D survived that 46-41 clash with archrival Christian Brothers Academy Friday night at Buddy Wleklinski Court. Then, with no time to recuperate, the Red Rams went east to the 37th Juggler Classic at SUNY-Utica Tech and earned the championship.
The odyssey in Utica commenced with Saturday’s opening-round game against Bishop Kearney (Rochester), and it took overtime for the Red Rams to beat the Kings 65-64.
Despite being from separate sections, J-D and Kearney, the reigning state Class B champions (it moved up to Class A this season) had already played once — on Dec. 5, in the Peppino’s Invitational at Henninger, where the Rams breezed to an 89-76 victory.
Kearney would make the rematch far more taxing, even though it trailed 14-4 after one period and, after a brief push in the middle of the game, saw J-D restore its lead to 44-35 as the fourth quarter got underway.
Led by Roderick Gray, the Kings roared back in the fourth quarter, forcing a 56-56 tie by the end of regulation. Of Gray’s 32 points, 11 of them came in the final period as he accounted for more than half of Kearney’s offense.
The duel continued into the four-minute OT period, with neither side getting away. It was still tied, 64-64, when, with three seconds left, Lamar Kearse was fouled.
Just a day after hitting the clinching free throws to sink CBA, Kearse made one foul shot, and Kearney could not answer with the winning basket as time ran out.
Overall, Kearse had 19 points, while the Rams’ front line flourished as Tyler Cavanaugh earned 18 points and DaJuan Coleman got 16 points. Demetrius Mitchell and Josh Stone each had six points.
In Sunday’s final, J-D would face Albany Academy, who had upended host Utica-Notre Dame 78-65 in the other part of the opening round.
Again, the Rams would find itself in a close, tense contest. Again, J-D would come through, as Coleman put together the best game of his varsity career to lead his side to a 76-70 victory.
Albany made the first move, grabbing a 22-17 lead by the end of the first quarter. J-D countered, Coleman earning a series of baskets, and the Rams had a 38-37 halftime edge.
All through the second half, Coleman’s surge continued, and it didn’t stop until he had accumulated 35 points and 20 rebounds, a number made more remarkable by the amount of minutes he had logged in the course of the three games.
Despite all this, Albany, once down by eight, whittled the margin to 70-68 late in regulation, helped in no small part by nine 3-pointers and the fact that five of its players scored in double figures. Hunter McCarthy and Jelanie Currie led with 16 points apiece.
Cavanaugh extended the margin to 71-68 with a free throw and, after Mitchell grabbed a crucial rebound, Kearse (who finished with 19 points) and Coleman (the tournament MVP) hit three more free throws between them to clinch it.
As this went on, CBA bounced back from the J-D loss and beat Strong Vincent 70-61 in a Sunday tournament played at Gannon University in Erie, Pa. Pat Wiese led the Brothers with 16 points as Troy Bullock added 14 points.
Both J-D and CBA have games this week against East Syracuse-Minoa.
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