Jan 16, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
It proved an exciting week for the East Syracuse-Minoa basketball teams on several levels, as the girls made a stirring comeback against the reigning Section III Class A champions and, four days later, the boys made the annual Hall of Fame Game a winning effort.
And it all started when the girls Spartans went to Cortland last Tuesday night and rallied past the defending champion Purple Tigers 54-52.
All looked good in the first half, when ESM shut Cortland down and steadily built a 28-16 lead. Then it appeared to fall apart in the third period as, led by Nacirema Mann (who finished with 22 points), the Purple Tigers went on a 27-9 spree.
Suddenly trailing 43-36, ESM refused to panic. Instead, it used a steady inside-outside game to come back and go in front, this time for good.
Olivia Luciani provided the perimeter work, her 21 points featuring four successful 3-pointers, while Gabby Eure worked in the paint to get 13 points. ESM also kept Cortland star Maggie Brown from hitting any stride, holding her to 12 points.
ESM’s boys had run into unbeaten Cortland last Tuesday and lost, 63-47, to the Purple Tigers. It could not recover from a first half where, already behind 21-11, it did not manage a single point in the second period as Cortland increased the margin to 29-11.
All of the Spartans’ moves came in the late going, as Sharif Nero led with 11 points. Ryan Dadey had nine points, with Josh Stuper adding eight points and Casey Sullivan getting all seven of his points at the free-throw line. For Cortland, Brandon Babcock dominated the proceedings, getting nearly half his team’s total as he finished with 28 points.
Then the Spartans came home Saturday to face Chittenango on the day when the school inducted its seven 2011 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
Three great coaches – Gary Becker (baseball), Doug Hartman (wrestling) and Thomas Sheldon – were joined in the Class of 2011 by lacrosse standouts Chris Asterino and Allison Tyminski, three-sport 1970s star Patricia Orr and track star Jason Bognacki.
Together, they watched another Hall of Fame-type effort from Joe Greco propel the Spartans to a 72-61 victory over the Bears.
Greco finished with 30 points, most of them in the first three quarters. He had 14 of those points in the first quarter as ESM sprinted out to a 26-11 lead, only to see Chittenango answer with a 15-0 run to start the second quarter.
Not until Keith Caiello’s basket near the end of the first half did the Spartans go back in front for good, at 37-35. It then stretched the lead back to double digits in the third quarter as Greco, with three more 3-pointers (he had five on the day), got hot again.
The Bears made one more comeback, pulling within 64-60 with barely two minutes left, but ESM closed on an 8-1 run as Greco, Stuper and Placito made six straight free throws. Stuper had a fine day of his own, earning 18 points as Caiello got 10 points and Tyler Johnson eight points. Brendan Galek (22 points) and Mike Scott (18 points) led Chittenango’s attack.