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CNS teammates pace CNY hoops to gold

Stewart, Bowles on girls championship squad in Johnson City

— Mere days after returning from her gold-medal experience in Chile, Breanna Stewart joined up with Cicero-North Syracuse teammate Sarah Bowles, and the pair went to Johnson City to pursue more basketball glory.

As a replacement for the canceled Empire State Games, the Basketball Coaches Association of New York put together a tournament, held last week at SUNY-Binghamton, with top boys and girls teams from each of the state’s regions.

Stewart showed no signs of wear and tear, as with 31 points in the opener she outscored Southern Tier by herself in a 98-27 romp. In the second game, Stewart had 32 points and Bowles contributed six points in Central New York’s 84-63 win over Capital District.

Clinching a spot in the gold-medal game, CNY held off Rochester District 73-70. At last, Stewart cooled off a bit, to 23 points, but Bowles again chimed in with six points as Cortland’s Maggie Brown provided help with 21 points.

All that was left was Sunday’s final against Hudson Valley. Capping off its perfect run through the tournament, CNY won a high-scoring contest, 94-84.

Again, Stewart was unstoppable with 35 points, 22 rebounds, seven blocks and four assists. For the tournament, she averaged 28.5 points and 18 rebounds. Bowles wasn’t quiet in the final, either, as she finished with nine points.

And there was a heavy CNS accent to the tournament. Not only did Stewart and Bowles play on the girls side for Central New York, John Haas coached the boys CNY side, a squad that included the Northstars’ Vaughndell Brantley.

CNY lost the opener 85-78 to Southern Tier, but bounced back on Saturday to rout Capital District 104-57 and top Rochester District 92-84. In the latter contest, Brantley put up 15 points, second only to Maurice Mills (Utica Proctor), who had 21 points.

Playing in Sunday’s bronze-medal game against Hudson Valley, CNY won here, too, going to overtime to prevail 89-84, though Brantley was unable to score a point. Tom Bassett (South Jefferson) led CNY with 28 points.

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