Dec 09, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
They saved the best of the boys basketball Peppino’s Invitational for the end – two high-quality games involving four high-profile programs, and even the two sides that lost did not walk away too disappointed.
Late on Saturday afternoon at Henninger High School, reigning state Class B champion Bishop Ludden held off Fayetteville-Manlius 70-67. A couple of hours later, Christian Brothers Academy’s late comeback attempt fell just short in a 67-63 defeat to Henninger.
F-M enters the 2012-13 season boasting sky-high expectations. Four starters – John Schurman, Tomer Nesher, Jake Wittig and T.J. Wheatley – return for the Hornets from a team that lost a narrow 54-48 decision to Henninger in last year’s Section III Class AA semifinal.
For its first assignment, F-M drew Ludden, and at first had little trouble solving the Gaelic Knights, roaring out to a 22-12 lead early in the second quarter, even with Wheatley unable to start due to illness and Schurman struggling from the field.
But when the Hornets cooled off in the second quarter (and Wittig went to the bench with a second foul), Ludden caught up, led by junior guard Ben Hackett, who poured in 15 first-half points, leading to a 29-29 halftime tie.
Hackett continued to roar in the third quarter, as he and Kyle Hawk, who hit a pair of 3-pointers, keyed a 14-2 run that gave the Gaelic Knights a 43-31 edge. For the game, Hackett would finish with 27 points, while fellow junior Dan Kaigler had to work hard to get his 16 points.
But the Hornets wouldn’t go away. While Schurman stayed cold, fellow guard Louis Avellino continued to drain 3-pointers, and Nesher worked his way to 20 points. When Avellino’s sixth 3-pointer found the net Ludden’s lead was down to four, 62-58, midway through the fourth quarter.
F-M’s hopes were thwarted, though, when Wittig fouled out with 3:02 left. It was still a four-point margin, 64-60, when Ludden’s Cameron Littlejohn hit a 3-pointer just before the shot clock ran out, with 53 seconds left.
Fighting to the end, F-M cut it to 68-65 as Avellino hit his seventh 3-pointer. But free throws by Kaigler and Littlejohn would clinch the Gaelic Knights’ win.
Then it was CBA’s turn to face a host side from Henninger that had beaten Jamesville-DeWitt 78-62 the night before. Going in, the Brothers’ intent was to keep the Black Knights from picking up the tempo.
That worked for a half. Though Henninger led most of the way, the Brothers’ pressure slowed things down, and Charlie Russo (seven points) and Will Brower (six points) produced timely basket. As with F-M and Ludden, this game went to halftime even, at 24-24.
CBA even took a brief 28-26 lead early in the third quarter, but Henninger answered with a big offensive outburst, more than doubling its total in that single period and racing to a 49-40 lead. And all of this came despite Russo getting 10 points to keep the Brothers within range.
With less than six minutes left, CBA trailed 58-45. But led by Russo and Brower, the Brothers chipped away at the margin down the stretch, and when Jared Sayles hit a jumper with 1:40 to play, Henninger had just a three-point advantage, 64-61.
As with Ludden, though, Henninger iced it with three throws – one from Marquane Silvers and two from Chris Hicks – and the Brothers managed just one more field goal in the waning seconds.
Russo led both sides with 27 points, 20 of them coming in the second half. Brower had 13 points, while Dylan Lambert got eight points. Henninger point guard Romero Collier had 13 points and 13 assists, with Ahmad McKinney adding 18 points and Keith Tyson II getting 10 points.