Dec 11, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Perhaps this is not the same old Baldwinsville boys basketball team.
The Bees of seasons past may have, when confronted with a double-digit deficit against a familiar nemesis like Liverpool, faded away toward another frustrating defeat in another frustrating slog through the winter.
Yet this B’ville group did something different in Sunday night’s Holiday Tip-Off Classic in the Carrier Dome, Trailing Liverpool by as many 11 points in the first half, the Bees roared ahead in the third quarter and, with late free throws, held on to beat the Warriors 68-65.
Nothing was secure until the final horn. After Willie Hython sank a free throw with 4.9 seconds to play to expand the margin to three, Liverpool drove hard to the basket, but could not get an open 3-point look to tie it as time ran out.
It was a different group of foul shots that began the Bees’ turnaround. With time winding down in the first half and B’ville down 37-26, Kevin Drain tried a 3-point shot and, at the horn, got fouled.
Drain made all three of the ensuing free throws, putting B’ville back within single digits, and that momentum carried over to the third quarter, where the Bees outscored Liverpool 25-7, capped by Brett Charbonneau knocking down a contested 3-pointer as the period ended.
Much of that could be credited to Hython. Held to four points in the first half, the senior forward found open looks and kept on converting. Of his 21 points, 12 of them were in the third period.
“Willie really started taking over,” said head coach Tim Solomon.
And the turnaround was evident on both ends. To counteract Liverpool’s early surge of 3-point shooting (it made four of them in the first quarter), Solomon switched to a 1-3-1 defense. Suddenly, the Warriors found itself unable to get those same shots, and its lead vanished.
Still, Liverpool battled back. Down 64-57, it whittled the margin down to two, 64-62, on Mike Russo’s 3-pointer with 28.6 seconds left, which meant that B’ville had to do something on the foul line.
Mike Aiello, fouled with 13.6 seconds to play, made both of his free throws to make it 66-62. Russo converted again on a layup to slice the margin to 66-64, leading to Hython’s late free throw and one more successful defensive stand.
Overall, Drain led with 23 points, 10 of them in the first quarter that helped the Bees stayed within sight amid Liverpool’s shooting barrage. Darren Finn chimed in with 14 points and Charbonneau added seven points. Russo led Liverpool with 22 points, while sophomore Caleb Taylor added 17 points.
This game completed four days of intense activity, which gave a quick indication of whether the Bees were ready for a long-awaited push into contender status after going 5-12 a season ago.
To start with, the Bees would host its own tip-off tournament, welcoming Fulton, Corcoran and Whitesboro to the Baker High School gym.
In Thursday night’s opening round, B’ville met Fulton and, pushing the tempo from start to finish, gradually pulled way in a 78-61 victory over the Red Raiders.
The Bees outscored Fulton in each period. It had a double-digit advantage (36-24) by halftime, and though the Red Raiders made a series of late runs, B’ville kept answering, mostly through a dominant inside game.
B’ville did not make a 3-pointer all night. But Hython still managed 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Drain also had a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds. Tony DeMarco had 11 points and four rebounds, with Mike Muldoon adding eight points. Charbonneau backed up his eight points with seven assists.
In the other part of the first round, Corcoran beat Whitesboro 66-57, setting up a final between the Bees and Cougars on Friday night.
Here, B’ville would have many fine moments, but still take a 79-66 defeat, mainly because its defense disappeared late in the first half.
A strong opening period left the Bees in front, 20-14, but just as quickly Corcoran took off. Led by Henry Sullivan and Shakem Buckmon, the Cougars outscored B’ville 26-12 in that frame and took the lead for good.
For the rest of the game, the Bees offered a frantic chase, mainly thanks to Hython, who set a career mark with 35 points as Drain (10 points) and Muldoon (eight points) offered some help.
However, Corcoran held on because it connected on 12 3-pointers, seven of them from Sullivan, who finished with 32 points for the night as Buckmon contributed four treys on his way to 20 points
The win over Liverpool followed, and B’ville was 2-1 going into Wednesday’s home game against Fayetteville-Manlius, off to its own 2-0 start. It’s the only time the Bees will play this week.