Jan 24, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
So much for the brief skid that the Fayetteville-Manlius boys basketball team encountered early in January, when it lost back-to-back games at Henninger and Oswego.
The Hornets promptly responded with three wins in the span of a week, moving to 11-2 and increasing the possibility that it will have one of the top seeds when the Section III Class AA playoffs start late next month.
At the center of this string was Friday night’s 65-44 romp over Notttingham in front of an overflow crowd of 1,000 at the “Hornets’ Nest”, where the sentiments went well beyond the contest on the court.
F-M chose this night to honor 2010 graduate Matt Murphy, who was team manager for three years. Murphy passed away Oct. 10 from leukemia while attending Syracuse University.
The team came up with black T-shirts, featuring Murphy’s favorite quote, “Impossible is Nothing,” on the back, and sold more than 400 of them, encouraging fans attending the game to wear those T-shirts. Those sales, along with other donations, added up to $4,500, with all proceeds benefiting the Golisano Children’s Hospital.
With that as a backdrop, F-M tore into Nottingham, who entered the game at 7-3 and had, the week before, knocked off Oswego and Cicero-North Syracuse.
A combination of balanced scoring on the offensive end and a 1-3-1 zone defense that thoroughly baffled Nottingham led to a dominant first half on the Hornets’ part. By the time they reached the break, F-M enjoyed a 41-15 advantage.
Though it could not maintain that lopsided a margin, the Hornets still cruised through the rest of the night, putting four players in double figures.
Tomer Nesher led with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals. T.J. Wheatley got a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, adding three steals of his own, while John Schurman got 12 points and 12 rebounds. Zach Tucker starred off the bench with 11 points and three rebounds.
Earlier in the week, F-M ripped past Central Square 63-34. Playing for the first time since the Henninger and Oswego losses, the Hornets did exactly what it would do against Nottingham as it shut down the Red Hawks in a 43-8 first half.
Schurman finished with 22 points and six rebounds, while Wheatley poured in 14 points and also got six boards. Josh Manzi earned a career-best eight points.
As a follow-up to those games, F-M played Monday night at East Syracuse-Minoa, who held its own “Hoops For the Hospital” fund-raiser, also benefiting the Golisano Children’s Hospital.
The Hornets would beat the Spartans 71-56, but it was a far shakier start as ESM, fueled by Bobby Campese’s 10 first-quarter points, led 13-7 late in the first quarter.
Turning things around, F-M leaned on Schurman, who scored 14 of his team’s first 20 points as part of a 23-6 run, which helped the Hornets lead 36-28 going into halftime.
ESM hung close until Jeff McDuffie, who had provided a spark on both ends of the floor and had 11 points, went to the bench with a head injury late in the third quarter.
Nesher helped the Hornets get away, earning 17 of his 23 points in the second half as Schurman cooled off, though the sophomore still managed to gain 26 points. Campese led the Spartans with 21 points.
This sets up a big game Thursday night where 11-2 F-M visits Utica Proctor. Like the Hornets, the Raiders started fast (10-0) and, like F-M, it also lost back-to-back road games,in this case overtime defeats to C-NS and Henninger.