Chittenango Dajuan Coleman and Tyler Cavanaugh played like the NCAA Division I recruits they are last night, powering top seed Jamesville-Dewitt past upset-minded New Hartford, 62-44, in Thursday night's Section III Class A boys basketball semifinal at Chittenango High School.
The Syracuse University-bound Coleman poured in 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Future Wake Forest player Cavanaugh tallied 22 points and pulled down a game high 16 boards.
“They wear you down,” J-D coach Bob McKenney said. “They’re both big. They’re both strong. And they’re both skilled. That creates incredible matchup difficulties."
In essence, Coleman and Cavanaugh carried J-D on this night. Aside from them, the Rams had just four total field goals - two by Jafar Kinsey, one each from Pete Drescher and Rasheed Baker.
Coleman, Cavanaugh and rest of the Red Rams (18-2) will get a chance to showcase their skills on the big stage next. J-D takes on no. 3 seed Cortland (18-2) in the March 4 Class A title game at the Carrier Dome, a rematch of the 2011 final won by J-D on its way to a fourth consecutive state championship.
The final score against New Hartford might have some thinking it was a blowout. The no. 5 seed Spartans (15-5) would take issue with that.
Behind speedy guards and some hot outside shooting, the Spartans led 12-9 after one quarter. The advantage ballooned to 18-9 early in the second stanza when back-to-back three pointers by Derek German, and Jared Henderson sent the large New Hartford student section into frenzy.
“When you’ve got quicks and your big guys can shoot it, it really creates matchup difficulties, particularly for a big team like ours,” McKenney said. “(New Hartford) made shots in the first half and they (slowed it) down. We went to our press and I thought that changed the tempo of the game a little bit.”