To be sure, the large throngs that gathered Friday night at Jamesville-DeWitt for the latest chapter in the boys basketball rivalry between the Red Rams and its neighbors from Christian Brothers Academy expected standout performances from talented individuals on both rosters.
What few expected, though, was the way Pete Drescher stole the spotlight from bigger names like DaJuan Coleman, Tyler Cavanaugh, Shakir Evans and Greg Thomson, as Drescher's 15 second-half points - plus standout defense - keyed the Red Rams' 59-46 victory over the Brothers.
Earlier in the evening, CBA did prevail on the girls side against J-D, building a 15-point lead at one point in the second half before fending off a furious J-D comeback to prevail 47-40.
Regarding the boys match-up, a few questions overshadowed all others. Which style would prevail - J-D, with its speed and massive inside presence? Or CBA, with deadly outside shooting? Also, which side would get the tempo that it wanted?
The second question got answered first. CBA was quite content to run as much of the 35-second shot clock as possible to keep J-D from speeding things up, and it had the Rams flustered in the opening minutes as it sprinted out to an 11-2 lead.
Early in the second quarter, the Rams still trailed 18-12, so head coach Bob McKenney switched out of the 2-3 zone he used in the early going, and the Rams set new screens, directly the Brothers' guards. As a result, CBA's outside shots started to veer off target.
"We played one of our best defensive games," said McKenney. "Switching the screens helped us pick up the tempo."
Meanwhile, Coleman notched three straight baskets late in the half, pushing J-D to a 23-18 lead, only to see the Brothers answer and edge back in front, 25-24, by halftime. Given the scoring pace and its tendency to get hot from the outside at any time, CBA had to feel good about its chances.