continued Guessing that the Northstars would hone in on Russo, he became a decoy, allowing Jeff Edwards to drive to the baseline and sink a short jumper with 16.8 seconds left to tie it, 54-54.
Russo almost won it at the end of regulation when, after forcing a tie-up and turnover, he sliced to the top of the key and, from 25 feet out, fired away. His shot went off the backboard and front of the rim, but stayed out, and the game went to overtime.
At that point, said Jacob, he told his players that it was a four-minute game, and the Warriors answered with three flawless minutes of basketball that included big defensive stops and seven unanswered points, four of them from Hector Oyola, who finished with 18 points.
Though shut out in the first 3:10 of the extra period, C-NS hung in there all the way to the end, the game not fully settled until Caleb Taylor made a pair of free throws with 8.6 seconds left in OT.
For the night, Taylor had 13 points and Edwards contributed nine points. Brian DeMonte, with 16 points, paced four C-NS players that scored in double figures as Xavier Brown managed 15 points, Mike Tricarico got 11 points and Lumia contributed 10 points.
To make this possible, each of them had to win in Thursday’s opening round against strong opponents – and did so.
First, Liverpool rallied past West Genesee. The Warriors at first appeared to have difficulty containing a potent, explosive Wildcat attack as WG put together a 10-0 run in the first quarter and an 11-0 spurt in the second quarter, all of which left Liverpool trailing 38-29 at the break.
If the game turned anywhere, it did when WG went up 44-39 midway through the third period. Right after Mike Henry’s basket, he drew a technical foul for taunting, and Russo sank the ensuing free throws.