Feb 25, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Dave Jackowski spent much of this season toiling in anonymity as the “other” senior forward on the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team, the guy doing the unglamorous work opposite his more noted frontcourt mate, Zach Coleman.
Or at least that was the case before the Northstars met archrival Liverpool in Friday night’s Section III Class AA quarterfinal.
Jackowski picked quite a time to have the best game of his varsity career, pouring in 25 points as the no. 2 seed Northstars broke out of a halftime tie and built a 17-point margin in the second half before hanging on to eliminate the no. 7 seed Warriors 65-58 for its 13th victory in a row.
“Everything just worked out,” said Jackowski. “They played Zach tight, and it left me wide open.”
Indeed, Liverpool was determined not to let Coleman repeat the 27-point effort he put together when CNS won at Liverpool 68-54 on Feb. 18, just a week prior to their playoff rematch on the Northstars’ home floor.
Throughout the first half, one or two Warrior defenders camped themselves next to Coleman, rarely allowing him a chance even to touch the ball. In one sense, it worked, as Coleman managed just two points in the half and picked up two fouls.
Perhaps it worked too well, though, for Jackowski kept finding himself alone near the basket – and kept converting. He had 10 points in the first quarter, leading CNS to a 17-11 lead as he added four more points in the second period.
To counter, Liverpool forward Ian Hamm managed 11 first-half points, and a 10-1 run late in the second quarter, with Connor Rogers getting seven of those points, helped the Warriors inch ahead for the only time, 25-24, before going to the break even at 26-26.
Just like the week before, though, the Northstars would start to take over in the third quarter, increasing the tempo more to its liking. Part of it was Jackowski continuing to convert at a rate he had never experienced before – but it was also guys like Vaughndell Brantley and Elliott Boyce Jr. sinking key shots as CNS took a 49-37 lead to the final period.
With less than five minutes left, CNS had a 58-41 lead – but Liverpool stormed back, led by Rogers, who worked his way to 23 points and hit four 3-pointers. The Warriors pulled within six, 61-55, and nearly got closer with a minute left before seeing Andy Russo’s 3-pointer go in and out of the net.
Coleman then sank two free throws with 43.2 seconds to play, all but sealing it. The senior had nine points in the fourth quarter to give him 16 for the night, while Boyce finished with nine points. Hamm only had two points in the second half to finish with 13 as Adam Misener poured in 16 points.
CNS now takes that 13-game win streak into the Class AA semifinals Tuesday at 7 p.m. at LeMoyne College against no. 3 seed Henninger, the last team to beat them, 59-55, back on Jan. 4. The Black Knights routed West Genesee 73-50 in its quarterfinal game, and now gets CNS to see who advances to this Saturday’s final at Utica Memorial Auditorium against Utica Proctor or Christian Brothers Academy.
Before the CNS and Liverpool boys took the court, the girls Northstars, in hot pursuit of a third straight Class AA sectional title, defended its top seed with a 58-26 romp over no. 9 seed Nottingham in the quarterfinal round.
Trying to end the suspense quickly, CNS held the Bulldogs without a field goal in the first quarter and roared to a 21-1 lead. The lopsided margin led to some sloppy play the rest of the half, but the Northstars still led 30-11 at halftime and steadily added to that margin in the last two periods.
As she has done several other times this winter, junior Breanna Stewart outscored the entire Nottingham roster, managing 30 points by herself. The real surprise, though, was seeing Sarah Bowles step up for 16 points, which more than made up for the fact that Kelsey Mattice and Brittany Paul had just four points apiece.
In the AA semifinals, which will start at 5 p.m. Tuesday at LeMoyne (just before the boys take the court), CNS will draw no. 5 seed CBA, who edged past Liverpool 47-46 to get this far. The Northstars need one more win to get to Sunday’s sectional final, also at Utica Auditorium, against Fayetteville-Manlius or Utica Proctor.