In between these games, East Syracuse-Minoa broke into the win column for the first time under new head coach Jim Kilpatrick on Wednesday night, defeating Homer 52-42.
A 14-6 burst through the first quarter put the Spartans in control. Though the Trojans closed the gap to 22-17 by halftime, ESM maintained its poise and, as the pace picked up in the late going, made all the key free throws to hang on.
Sean Richardson led the way, pouring in 21 points, six of them at the foul line. Seven of DeShaun Gorman’s nine points came from free throws, while Jah-meer McDuffie earned 11 points and Jeff McDuffie matched Gorman’s total of nine points.
Still at home Friday night to face Central Square, the Spartans used a big third-quarter spurt to take control and ultimately earn a 62-53 victory over the Red Hawks.
Neither side could put together a sustained spurt in the first half. But ESM, up 24-23 at the break, changed that by outscoring Central Square 20-13 in the third period, and answering every time the Red Hawks tried to get close in the late going.
Jeff McDuffie continued to heat up, leading ESM with 20 points, just ahead of Richardson, whose 19 points included six successful free throws. Eyan Underwood contributed 11 points, with Jah-meer McDuffie earning six points. Joe Piazza (21 points) and Malcolm Anderson (18 points) accounted for most of Central Square’s offense.
ESM put its two-game win streak on the line Tuesday against CBA, its only action of the week since a scheduled Thursday game with Bishop Ludden was moved to Jan. 14. Grimes went for four in a row Monday against Institute of Technology Central before a Thursday game at Phoenix.