Mar 05, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
So the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team may have taken a slightly different course than in the three previous years it claimed a Section III Class A championship.
That hardly mattered, for it led the Red Rams to the same familiar spot – on top, without any questions.
J-D, the no. 2 seed, got sweet payback against top seed Cortland in Saturday’s Class A final at Utica Memorial Auditorium, beating the Purple Tigers 75-55 as DaJuan Coleman exploded for 22 of his 26 points in the second half and his running mates, Tyler Cavanaugh and Demetrius Mitchell, both would play starring roles, too.
Of course, Mitchell was still recovering from the broken foot he suffered in mid-December when, on Jan. 28, Cortland beat J-D 55-51, a game where the Purple Tigers dictated the tempo, hit 10 3-pointers and, among other things, kept the frontcourt tandem of Coleman and Cavanaugh from ever getting comfortable.
Much the same thing was unfolding in the sequel, to J-D’s chagrin. Though the Rams ran out to an 18-9 lead early in the second quarter, it was again allowing Cortland to slow the game down when it had the ball, content to eat up large portions of the 35-second shot clock as long as J-D wasn’t running.
With an 11-2 push late in the half, Cortland tied it, 20-20, and they traded baskets before Cavanaugh’s 3-pointer pushed the Rams in front 25-22 at the break.
Despite the lead, J-D coach Bob McKenney said he was unhappy because Coleman had just four points and was rarely getting the ball even when he was out there. So he told his players to find Coleman and get him more involved.
Coleman sensed that he had to play a larger role, too. “I knew I had to step it up and be the leader of this team,” he said.
Less than 30 seconds into the third quarter, Coleman got the ball and dunked it home, all while getting fouled. He completed the three-point play to make it 28-22, and the Rams’ attack started flowing again.
Still, Cortland would not go away, only trailing 44-40 when, as the third-quarter clock ran out, Cavanaugh sank a huge 3-pointer from the corner that banked off the glass before going in. It proved the catalyst for a 13-0 run that all but sealed the outcome.
Cavanaugh, who finished with 16 points and was named Class A tournament MVP, said his poor performance in that first Cortland game served as a prime motivator here – though he added that it helped immensely to have Mitchell (who had 15 points in the final) back to occupy the Purple Tigers’ attention.
McKenney agreed. “Tyler played a bad game (back in January),” he said. “He was eager for an opportunity to show what kind of player he is.”
Of course, it was Coleman that put on the big show in the final period. He had two more big dunks, but the imposing 6-10 junior also stepped back and hit a pair of 3-pointers, all part of a 13-point effort in that last frame that wiped out Cortland’s chances.
Now J-D can turn its attention to a quest for a fourth consecutive state Class A title. It must win two regional games this weekend at Cicero-North Syracuse in order to return to Glens Falls for the state final four.