A weekend in Utica

From a warm and windy Friday to a Sunday blanketed by relentless snow, they got in 12 basketball games at Utica Memorial Auditorium and handed out 12 Section III championships.

And each of the 12 contests provided a specific memory, something that lingers long after the awards are handed out and fates in the state playoffs are determined.

To start on Friday....Kirsten Dodge comes of age. Raw at the start of the season, the 6-4 Fabius-Pompey sophomore was the main reason the undefeated Falcons stayed that way. With Mohawk bent on stopping Stevie Ray in the C-2 final, Dodge kept getting open inside, kept receving the ball - and kept converting, to the tune of 30 points. And F-P had a first-ever girls hoops title to celebrate.

Then there was Watertown IHC's first quarter against Cooperstown. So what if the Redskins were the top seed. The Cavaliers, led by Adrianna Spicer, spent those eight minutes putting on a clinic of full-court chaos, pressure leading to turnovers leading to fast breaks leading to baskets. In all, 24 points in a row, and IHC had the Class C-1 title firmly secured.

Saturday saw two city upstarts have their day, starting with Syracuse Academy of Science over Onondaga in the C-2 final. It was impressive enough that the Atoms could prevail while playing far from its (very fast-paced) comfort zone. But SAS also made the plays in the clutch - Kaleel Johnson's steal and lay-up to get the lead, and Dakeem McLain's two clutch free throws with 5.7 seconds left.

IT went from nothing (4-14 a year ago) to the C-1 championship on Jahcin Ingram's wings. Merely good until late this season, he became the Eagles' undisputed leader, and did just about everything in the final, from 23 points to eight rebounds and eight steals. Both SAS and IT played its best in the stretch, just when a newcomer ought to fold, which was quite impressive.

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