J-D beaten again in Federation hoops final

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.

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