Syracuse city high school basketball fans can now legitimately dream of an all-city meeting for the Section III Class C championship after the results of Wednesday night's division semifinal games.
Syracuse Academy of Science, defending the top seed in Class C-2, pulled away from Beaver River 70-45 at Sandy Creek in its semifinal.
Meanwhile, at Onondaga Community College, Institute of Technology Central, the no. 3 seed in C-1, held off defending sectional champion Tully 55-54 in a C-1 semifinal game not decided until the final possession.
Leading by one, ITC saw Jahcin Ingram miss the front end of a one-and-one free-throw attempt with 10.2 seconds left. Tully rebounded and had a chance to win it, but just when it looked like it had an open shot underneath, Ingram raced back to steal the ball, and time ran out.
That it was so close was no surprise, since in their last meeting Jan. 28 Tully prevailed 61-58 when Dan Morse hit a shot near half-court at the buzzer.
Determined to avenge that loss, ITC moved out in front during the second quarter, where a pattern developed. Every time the Eagles tried to get away, the Black Knights would claw back.
This happened three separate times, with ITC nearly throwing away a 41-30 edge in the third quarter and a 54-47 lead with three minutes left, Tully battling back within striking distance despite Ingram getting 19 points and Clemons adding 13 points.
Ingram's free throw with 1:14 to play made it 55-50. After Tully cut it to three, Clemons missed his own front end of a one-and-one with 32.5 seconds left, and the Black Knights raced down the court, converting on Tom Twentyman's basket to slice the margin to one, setting up the last sequence.
None of this took place at Sandy Creek, where SAS put up for a half with Beaver River trying to slow them down in the first half, still seizing a 29-18 lead because its own defense shut down the Beavers for long stretches of time.