Has the cloak of invincibility disappeared from the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team?
First came the pair of losses at the Jan. 21-22 Prime Time Shootout in West Virginia. Then, on Friday night, the Red Rams' undisputed status as an overwhelming Section III Class A favorite took a serious hit when it went to Cortland and took a 55-51 defeat to the Purple Tigers.
It's been a long time since J-D has lost three consecutive games, no matter the context. And the Rams had prevailed in 21 straight OHSL Freedom division contests, the last defeat coming to CBA in 2009.
But Cortland was a worthy opponent, having roared out to a 12-1 start this season, its only loss coming to CBA on Jan. 19. And the Purple Tigers were at home, playing in front of 1,000 loud and passionate fans ready to see the three-time state Class A champions put to the test.
J-D's defense had a solid first quarter, but it only led 12-9 at the end of that frame. Sensing a big opportunity, Cortland seized it, controlling the tempo and, more importantly, hitting outside shots as it sprinted ahead, 29-25, by halftime.
Even with a faster pace in the third period, J-D could not quite catch up, still trailing 43-41 going to the final period, where it did move ahead 48-45. But J.P. Reagan's 3-pointer tied it for Cortland, and the drama proceeded to the final minutes.
They were still even, 51-51, when Brandon Babcock's lay-up pushed Cortland ahead by two. J-D, still with a chance to tie or win it, the Rams turned it over - and with seven seconds to play, Reagan's pair of free throws clinched Cortland's big win.
In defeat, DaJuan Coleman only managed 12 points and Tyler Cavanaugh struggled, too, with just eight points. Pete Drescher led J-D with 14 points.