Mar 28, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In a midst of a comeback attempt to cap off a perfect season and earn its second state Federation Class A championship in three years, something utterly shocking happened to the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team on Saturday night at Glens Falls Civic Center.
It did not score a point. For an entire quarter.
Worse yet, that drought came in the fourth quarter of the Federation title game against Nichols School, and a close game turned into a romp as the Red Rams lost to the Buffalo-based Vikings 65-43.
No matter what offense it ran, no matter how many shots it took, and even with the giant presence of sophomore center DaJuan Coleman in the middle, J-D went cold and got tired –and Nichols made them pay, putting up the game’s final 16 points.
As a result, J-D’s 25-game win streak got halted, and just like 2009, the Rams would claim the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A title (its third in a row, in fact), but fall one win short of a sweep of the top honors.
All through the season, Coleman, with his 6-9 height and wide body, had come to own the paint, and never more so than in Friday’s Federation semifinal, where the Red Rams beat Bedford Academy by a score of 67-54.
Both Coleman and his senior teammate, Lamar Kearse, finished with 23 points. But Coleman tacked on an astonishing 31 rebounds, a single-game Federation tournament record, as he constantly prevented Bedford, the Brooklyn-based champions of New York’s Public School Athletic League, from establishing any inside presence.
J-D was in full control against Bedford, bolting out to a 19-8 first-quarter lead as five different players — Coleman, Kearse, Tyler Cavanaugh, Demetrius Mitchell and Jailaan Kinsey — got the team’s first five baskets.
Nursing that margin the rest of the half, the Rams were up 35-28 at the break. Bedford closed within five, 45-40, late in the third period, but Coleman grabbed every possible board, giving J-D more possessions as it used a 12-1 run early in the fourth quarter to get clear.
Kinsey, with seven points, and Mitchell, who had six points, gave Coleman and Kearse the most help, but it set up a Federation final that J-D clearly worried about.
Nichols, who beat defending Federation champion Long Island Lutheran 85-66 in the other Federation semifinal, had played J-D back on Jan. 30 at Onondaga Community College.
The Rams won that first meeting, 71-66, but nearly squandered a pair of double-digit leads and watched the Vikings’ star center, Virginia-bound Will Regan, get 25 points and 19 rebounds as he outplayed Coleman. More ominously, Nichols was playing without hot-shooting guard Rob Canestro, who sat out with a broken finger.
Canestro’s finger had healed now, and he would have a huge impact in the rematch, pouring in 23 points to support Regan, who had 21 points (passing 2,000 for his career) and Stan Wier, who added 17 points.
Nichols never trailed after the first quarter, when Coleman’s six early points helped J-D gain a brief 13-12 edge. Many times in the second quarter, J-D had a chance to go back in front, but missed free throws and off-target 3-pointers allowed the Vikings to stay in front, 31-28, going into the break.
With a 15-6 run early in the third period, Nichols built the margin to 46-34, only to see J-D storm back behind a seven-point flurry from Zach Firestone. Everyone on both sides figured that, at the very least, the Rams would make Nichols work right to the final buzzer.
Instead, J-D started missing shots, the Vikings dominated on the boards and it all got out of hand. The Rams’ starters left with 1:12 to play as a marvelous season ended with one sour note.
Coleman, named to the All-Tournament team, led with 12 points and 11 rebounds, his 42 combined boards for the weekend setting another Federation tournament record. Cavanaugh got 11 points, Firestone nine points and Kearse seven points and eight rebounds.
Kearse, Kinsey and Firestone depart now, but don’t expect any drop-off from the dynasty in 2010-11 — not with Coleman, Cavanaugh and Mitchell around, plus increased roles for the likes of Davi Sacco, Pete Drescher and Josh Stone. A fourth straight state title is not difficult to imagine.