Dec 09, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
As far as early-season high school boys basketball games in Central New York went, none carried as much promise as Jamesville-DeWitt’s trip to Henninger in Thursday night’s Peppino’s Invitational opener – and somehow, the game managed to exceed those high expectations.
A physical battle through four quarters spilled into overtime thanks to a wild shot at the regulation buzzer, but the four-time defending state Class A champion Red Rams shook this off and still beat the reigning Section III Class AA champion Black Knights 75-70.
On a night full of tense action and signature plays, none were bigger than Quashawn Gainey’s 3-pointer at the end of the fourth quarter, which tied the game 63-63.
Prior to that, Henninger’s valiant effort appeared to be in vain. With 22 seconds left, Tyler Cavanaugh’s free throws made it 63-60, and the Black Knights ran off most of the remaining clock before its head coach, Erik Saroney, signaled for a time-out with two seconds left.
Taking the ball inbounds, Gainey, a 5-10 senior guard, let fly with a 25-foot shot that appeared too strong. But it crashed off the backboard, then the front rim, went to the back of the rim and rattled through the net as the buzzer sounded, sending Henninger fans in the packed gymnasium into a frenzy.
However, said J-D head coach Bob McKenney, his players were not too rattled by Gainey’s stunning shot, knowing that more basketball lay ahead.
“I told them to take a deep breath,” he said. “We were fine. It was now a four-minute game.”
Better yet for the Rams, it was a contest where, ultimately, three Henninger starters – Delee, Chisholm and Marquies Young – would foul out, giving J-D more space to operate, especially in the OT period.
And to no one’s surprise, J-D went back inside to its Syracuse University-bound senior, Dajuan Coleman, who had received a bounty of scoring chances all night. He had five of his 32 points in the OT, partially atoning for going 10 for 21 from the foul line.
“By the end of the season, he’ll be making those free throws,” said McKenney.
The whistles on both ends cast a shadow over the first half. In all, 30 fouls were called, taking both teams out of their rhythm.
“We had to completely play away from our game plan,” said Saroney, and his side wasn’t alone. J-D, due to two early fouls on Coleman and Wake Forest-bound senior Tyler Cavanaugh, reverted to a zone for long portions of the first half in order to keep their stars from further trouble.
The Rams led by as much as eight in those early stages and carried a 36-29 lead to the break. But led by Chisholm and Tommie Spinner, who had nine of his 11 points in the third period, Henninger inched ahead, 51-50, early in the fourth quarter.
From there, J-D reclaimed the lead, but never by more than three points, setting up Gainey’s big shot – and the Rams’ recovery in the extra period.
Cavanaugh, despite playing with a tender ankle, managed 21 points, the same number as Chisholm. Young had 12 points before fouling out, while J-D’s Pete Drescher managed 10 points, four of them in overtime, and Jafar Kinsey got eight points.
From there, J-D proceeded to the Washington, D.C. suburbs for Saturday’s high-profile contest against long-time national power DeMatha. On Sunday, the Rams face St. John’s, also from D.C., a late replacement for Oak Hill Academy, who dropped out of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Henninger returns to close out the Peppino’s Invitational Saturday night when it hosts Christian Brothers Academy, part of a weekend where the Brothers also meet “Holy War” rival Bishop Ludden Sunday night in the Carrier Dome at the Holiday Tip-Off Classic.