Feb 13, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Despite fabulous regular-season marks, neither of the Fayetteville-Manlius basketball teams will enter the Section III Class AA playoffs with the high burden of expectations.
For the boys Hornets, who earned a 15-3 record and a no. 3 seed, the challenge will be to, perhaps, overcome regular-season defeats to long-time powers Utica Proctor and Henninger to claim a first sectional title since 1955.
And the F-M girls, who are 16-2, are a no. 2 seed, but linger in the gigantic shadow of three-time defending sectional champion (and reigning state AA champion) Cicero-North Syracuse.
Both sides go there holding sustained win streaks – the F-M boys with four wins in a row, the girls having claimed 10 consecutive victories following a 72-32 defeat to C-NS on Jan. 3.
The boys Hornets’ week started last Tuesday with a trip to Auburn, where it showed poise and confidence in the homestretch and pulled away to beat the Maroons 65-54.
Ahead 20-10 after a strong first period against a Maroon side it beat 59-53 in mid-December, F-M nearly saw that lead vanish by halftime, Auburn pulling within 30-28. They remained on close terms until the fourth quarter, when F-M, with a well-balanced attack and solid free-throw shooting, got clear.
John Schurman earned seven of his 17 points at the foul line. Tomer Nesher, with 15 points, was close behind, while freshmen Jake Wittig and T.J. Wheatley each had 10 points. Kyree Rufus (20 points) and Trent Ward (16 points) led Auburn’s efforts.
Friday’s regular-season finale, against Baldwinsville, brought some early stress for the Hornets, but a decisive second quarter led to a 71-57 win over the Bees.
Trailing 15-13 after one period, F-M turned up its level of play on both ends, outscoring B’ville 19-4 the rest of the half and nursing that lead the rest of the night.
Schurman again sizzled on his home court, rising to 26 points and adding seven rebounds. Zach Tucker, on Senior Night, produced 10 points, while Nesher had nine points. Wittig and Louis Avellino each had eight points, with Wittig also getting six assists and five steals.
As this went on, F-M’s girls team, holding the no. 17 state Class AA ranking, maintained its month-long winning run, overcoming a slow start at Baldwinsville last Thursday to record a 47-40 victory over the Bees.
It was B’ville’s senior night, and the hosts got off to an inspired start, putting F-M behind 20-8 by the early part of the second quarter. During that span, Bees senior Maggie Monnat earned her 1,000th career point, just the fourth player in school history to reach that mark.
After that, though, Kiley Shoemaker helped F-M take over. The senior center had 10 of her 17 points in a second-quarter surge that cut the margin to 23-21 at the break, and she, along with Alexis Rios, Lauren Getman and Charlotte Beers, put together a dominant third quarter.
In all, the Hornets outscored B’ville 30-8 before the Bees made a belated surge. Aiding Shoemaker, Rios had nine points, while Beers gained eight points and Getman earned seven points.
Just before that, F-M, on its own Senior Night, sailed past Auburn 66-36. Just as it would with B’ville, the Hornets took over in the second and third periods, outscoring the Maroons 34-14 and keeping control despite Annie Giannone’s 26 points.
The Hornets’ depth was illustrated here, as 12 players that saw action got at least one point, with Shoemaker (15 points) and Lauren Getman (13 points) setting the pace. Charlotte Beers added eight points.
Both of the Hornets’ Class AA quarterfinals will be at home Friday night – the girls meeting either no. 10 seed B’ville or no. 7 seed Utica Proctor, the boys playing the survivor of Tuesday’s first-round match between no. 6 seed Nottingham and no. 11 seed Watertown.