Feb 28, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Five Syracuse city boys basketball teams started out in the Section III playoffs – and three of them made it through the first week to reach the semifinal round.
Henninger and Syracuse Academy of Science are used to this – but this is new for Institute of Technology Central, the no. 3 seed in Class C-1, who in its playoff debut fought off no. 6 seed Little Falls 68-63 Saturday afternoon.
After a one-day weather postponement, the Eagles took the floor against the Indians boasting one of Central New York’s hottest players, Jahcin Ingram, whose late-season work included a 40-point performance in a loss to SAS.
Led by Ingram, ITC endured a back-and-forth first half where it went ahead, 15-9, only to have Waterville close the gap in the second period and only trail by two, 26-24, at the break.
In a wild third quarter, the Eagles outscored the Indians 27-21 to reclaim its margin, and it held on down the stretch as Ingram, again, had a big effort. He finished with 28 points, including 10 field goals and eight free throws.
Just as importantly, Ingram’s teammates did enough to help out, as three of them – Saquan Dozier, Mikell Clemons and Joe Boatwright – finished with 11 points apiece.
ITC improved to 15-4 on the season, and it sets up Wednesday’s C-1 semifinal against Tully, the no. 2 seed and defending Class C champions, at Onondaga Community College. The winner gets Cooperstown or Watertown IHC Saturday at 12:45 in the sectional final at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Just before that, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, the C-2 title will get decided – and SAS, the top seed, started the playoffs quite determined to return to the same Utica Auditorium where New York Mills beat them for the Class D championship a year ago.
For its opening assignment last Friday, the Atoms drew no. 8 Weedsport, a familiar opponent from the OHSL Patriot division, and had a fair amount of struggles before putting away the Warriors 67-55.
Weedsport slowed the game down at every turn, not wanting to let SAS get into the racehorse tempo (it had averaged better than 82 points a game in the regular season) that, among other things, produced an 81-45 rout of the Warriors earlier in the month.
For a long while, it proved tense, the Atoms only leading 35-30 at halftime and gradually building that margin out in the last two periods. Dakeem McLain had 19 points, including three 3-pointers, while Kaleel Johnson managed 18 points. Ahmet Tunali had 13 points and six blocks.
In the C-2 semifinals Wednesday night, the Atoms (17-2) go north, to Sandy Creek, to face no. 5 seed Beaver River, who upset defending C-2 champion West Canada Valley. The other semifinal pits Onondaga against Oriskany.
Henninger is a Class AA playoff fixture, having last won the title in 2008 and lost a nail-biting overtime final to CBA in 2009. As the no. 3 seed this time, the Black Knights tore through no. 6 seed West Genesee 73-50 in last Friday’s quarterfinals.
The game broke along similar lines to Henninger’s 79-53 romp of the Wildcats on Feb. 10. After taking a modest 14-10 lead in the first quarter, the Black Knights got away by outscoring WG 40-27 over the next two periods, a gradual push that led to total control.
Tommie Spinner, fresh off a 30-point effort in Henninger’s Feb. 17 win over Bishop Kearney, stayed hot despite the eight-day gap between games, pouring in 25 points this time around. Kavon Delee had 14 points, while Marquies Young finished with 12 points. Tevin Chisholm (eight points) and Markell Stith (six points) helped, too.
Now Henninger (16-3) will go after no. 2 seed and defending champion Cicero-North Syracuse in Tuesday’s semifinal at LeMoyne College, having beaten the Northstars 58-55 early in January before CNS took off on a 12-game win streak. The winner gets to the final against Utica Proctor or CBA on Saturday night.
Two other city schools, Fowler and Nottingham, were ousted in the first round early last week.
The Falcons fell to Fayetteville-Manlius 69-62 in overtime in a game where it led by as much as 11 in the third quarter, but still were on the brink of advancement before F-M’s Kevin Putnam hit a 3-poitner with less than three seconds left in regulation.
Shaken, Fowler (9-10) got outscored 17-10 in the four-minute OT period to see its season (turned around by the knee injury that sidelined Malcolm Jones in late December) ended. In defeat, Larry Rivers led with 20 points, while Dieudonne Pierre (15 points), Wilquan Burke (11 points) and Mike Givens (10 points) also hit double figures.
Nottingham, playing a night later, lost 68-51 to Liverpool, unable to recover from a first half where it fell behind 38-24. Still, the Bulldogs battled to the end as Jamar Adams led with 13 points, with Ronnie Roberts (11 points), Cameron Isaac (eight points) and Derrick Gore (seven points) close behind.