Even in a new venue, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team met the same frustrations in the New York State Federation Class A playoffs.
For the third year in a row, the Red Rams were beaten in the Federation event, this time taking a 75-71 loss to Long Island Lutheran in last Friday night's semifinals at Albany's Times Union Center.
To increase attendance for the event, the Federation tournament was moved from Glens Falls Civic Center. J-D had hoped the switch would give renewed vigor to its quest to follow up its fourth consecutive New York State Public High School Athletic Association title won in Glens Falls on March 20.
The Rams faced the same Long Island Lutheran squad it had lost to in the 2009 Federation final. The Crusaders featured, among others, Acharaf Yacabou, a senior going to Villanova next fall.
Of course, J-D has its own big-time prospect in 6-10 center DaJuan Coleman, and the newly-minted Central New York Player of the Year started to take over in the second quarter after LIL raced out to an early 17-12 lead.
With his wide variety of moves in the paint, Coleman, along with fellow junior Tyler Cavanaugh, helped J-D outscore the Crusaders 19-6 the rest of the half to get a 31-23 lead at the break. Deep into the third quarter, the Rams kept a 41-34 lead.
Then, sparked by Brendan Alford's pair of 3-pointers, LIL pulled within 50-47 by the end of the third period, then started the final quarter with a 12-1 run, most of its from Yacabou, who had 11 of his 19 points during the tear.
With 3:15 left, J-D was down by 13, but still it wasn't over. Coleman and Cavanaugh pulled the Rams within 70-65, but five free throws from Shaun Lawton, who led the Crusaders with 23 points, finished the Rams off.
Coleman led both sides with 29 points and 13 rebounds, while Cavanaugh added 18 points. No other J-D player reached double figures as Demetrius Mitchell and Pete Drescher each got eight points and Jafar Kinsey had six points.
Long Island Lutheran went on to smash St. Mary's 78-51 in the Federation final Saturday night. J-D, meanwhile, returned home with a 20-4 season and a new quest - namely, to win an unprecedented fifth straight state title in 2011-12 with Coleman, Cavanaugh, Drescher and Kinsey all set to return.