J-D finishes climb to third straight state title

That towering boys basketball dynasty at Jamesville-DeWitt only grows with each season - and each set of titles earned along the way.

It now stands at three consecutive New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championships, the latest of them earned Sunday afternoon when the Red Rams beat Newark 59-45 at Glens Falls Civic Center.

Overall, it's the fifth state crown won by J-D, four of them in head coach Bob McKenney's tenure.

It's reached the point where nothing less than a state championship is expected. Even after the departure of Brandon Triche (to Syracuse University) and Alshwan Hymes (to Canisius), the target was on the Rams from the moment this season got underway.

J-D wore that target quite well. From the inside dominance of sophomores DaJuan Coleman and Tyler Cavanaugh to the perimeter play of Lamar Kearse, Zach Firestone, Jailaan Kinsey and Demetrius Mitchell, J-D has emerged as the state's lone undefeated team - 24 games, 24 wins.

The last of these wins on the way to yet another public state title came against Newark, from Section V and Wayne County, halfway between Syracuse and Rochester.

And all attention was given to the inside duel between Coleman and the Reds' star center, Javon McCrea, who is going to the University of Buffalo next year. McCrea had 25 points and 18 rebounds in Newark's state semifinal win over Westbury.

J-D had little to worry about, though. Except for the game's first two minutes, it would never trail.

Three consecutive baskets late in the first quarter from Kearse, Firestone and Coleman pushed J-D ahead for good, but Newark would stay close for the first half.

Both sides played at a frantic tempo, pressing on the defensive side, which led to all kinds of wild shots and turnovers. In fact, J-D did not make a 3-pointer the entire half, yet did enough to stretch to a 26-20 lead at the break, capped by Pete Drescher's late free throws.

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