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.