Feb 12, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Some notable changes are part of the 2012 edition of the Section III boys basketball playoffs, chief among them the fact that the finals, on March 4, will all be played at the Carrier Dome after a two-year stint at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
What hasn’t changed, though, are the aspirations of all five Syracuse city schools, including Henninger, who looks to repeat the AA title it won a year ago in an overtime classic over Utica Proctor.
Winners of 10 in a row since a Dec. 31 defeat to state-ranked Troy in Albany, the Black Knights draw the no. 2 seed in AA, and will be home Friday for a quarterfinal against no. 7 seed Rome Free Academy or no. 10 seed West Genesee.
Meanwhile, Nottingham, who revived this winter and went 12-6, has the no. 6 seed. It hosts no. 11 seed Watertown (and its all-time leading scorer, Dustin Pond) Tuesday night at 6:30 in the opening round, hoping to advance to a quarterfinal Friday at no. 3 seed Fayetteville-Manlius.
And Corcoran, despite some struggles in the second half of the regular season, takes a 9-9 mark into the AA tournament. As the no. 9 seed, it plays Tuesday at no. 8 seed Christian Brothers Academy, with the winner going after top seed Utica Proctor on Friday.
Unlike 2011, the sectional Class C bracket did not split into two halves, leaving a single 15-team bracket for city schools Institute of Technology Central and Syracuse Academy of Science to negotiate after the Atoms beat the Eagles for the title a season ago on the way to the state final in Glens Falls.
And the two city rivals could meet in the quarterfinal round. ITC, with a 15-3 record and no. 12 state Class C ranking, has the no. 4 seed and hosts no. 13 seed Waterville in the opening round Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
A week after Kaleel Johnson became SAS’s first-ever 1,000-point scorer in a win over Onondaga, the Atoms (14-4) will take the court as the no. 5 seed, hosting no. 12 seed Port Byron, also on Tuesday night. So if SAS and ITC prevail, they would play for a third time this season, the Eagles having won both previous encounters.
Also, two girls teams enter the sectional Class AA fray. Nottingham, as the no. 9 seed, visits no. 8 seed RFA Tuesday night in the opening round, with the winner getting to meet top seed Cicero-North Syracuse, who features Breanna Stewart, the nation’s top-ranked senior, who is going to Connecticut next fall and was just named a McDonald’s All-American.
Corcoran may have an easier time of it as the no. 6 seed, not having to worry about C-NS until the finals, if it gets that far. The Cougars have to beat no. 3 seed West Genesee in Friday night’s quarterfinal at Camillus.