One more win, and the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team will reach a whole new level of accomplishment with three consecutive state Class A championships.
Tested for the first time in its entire 2010 post-season run, the Red Rams were up to it, getting away in the fourth quarter to beat Red Hook 63-53 in Saturday morning's state semifinal at Glens Falls Civic Center.
Now J-D has a chance to match what Peekskill did from 2005 to 2007, when it won three straight state titles. The final, against Newark (Section V), will be played Sunday at 1 p.m. in Glens Falls and will be telecast on Time Warner Sports.
The semifinal was a clash of the last two unbeaten teams in the state. J-D was 22-0, and Red Hook, the Section IX champions, were 23-0. More importantly, the Raiders were far from intimidated at the prospect of trying to topple the J-D dynasty.
All through the first quarter, the Rams and Red Hook swapped the lead before Zach Firestone's 3-pointer just before the buzzer pushed J-D ahead 17-14.
Twice in the second period, J-D built four-point margins, but the Raiders kept answering, pulling within two, 34-32, as the two sides went into the break.
Throughout the sectional and state playoffs, J-D had used the third quarter to put a stubborn opponent away. Yet it could not do so here, thwarted by poor shooting and the fact that star center DaJuan Coleman picked up his third foul early in the period.
But Red Hook was even colder, and could not take advantage. Right at the end of the period, Firestone struck again with a timely basket, this one off a steal, and J-D took a 45-40 lead to the fourth quarter.
The Raiders still lay within three, 48-45, when the Rams finally made the decisive move midway through the fourth quarter.