Mere hours after the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team finished its 75-70, overtime win over Henninger in the Peppino's Invitational, it boarded a bus and headed to the Washington, D.C. area for two games against elite opposition.
And the Red Rams emerged with a split from that event, proving effective as long as its two stars, Dajuan Coleman and Tyler Cavanaugh, were on the floor and not in foul trouble.
First, J-D placed long-time power DeMatha on Saturday night, and the hosts benefited from a spate of whistles as it beat the Red Rams 83-57.
Already trailing 27-16 through one period, the Rams lost any chance it may have possessed when both Coleman and Cavanaugh picked up their third fouls, forcing them to sit for four-plus minutes.
Only when the deficit grew worse did they go back in, and it was fairly even from that point, but too late for J-D to recover.
Despite that foul trouble, Coleman and Cavanaugh both finished with 19 points, but DeMatha’s defense did an effective job containing the rest of the lineup as no other J-D player had more than two field goals or five points, which was Jafar Kinsey’s total.
On Sunday, the Rams faced St. John the Baptist, also from D.C., a late replacement for Oak Hill Academy, who dropped out of the tournament. This time, the stars stayed on the court and the supporting cast offered more help, leading to a 63-54 victory.
All through the first half, the two sides stayed close. But J-D edged in front 26-25 before the break and outscored St. John 17-11 in the pivotal third quarter.
From there, the Rams held on, as Cavanaugh led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds. Coleman snared 14 rebounds to go with his nine points as Drescher stepped up with 13 points and seven rebounds. Kinsey, with 12 points, also hit double figures as Jordan Evans earned nine points.
This brutal opening stretch would culminate Tuesday with a visit from Cortland, the team J-D beat in last year’s Section III Class A final after the Purple Tigers had beat them in the regular season.
Cortland has four starters (J.P. Reagan, Brandon Babcock, Qwuhail Barlow and Jon Prior) back from that team, so it figures to be intense both times the two teams play this season, as there will be a rematch in Cortland on Jan. 31.