SYRACUSE Maybe the Henninger and Utica Proctor boys’ basketball teams like each so much they just have to spend more time together.
For the second time in three games, the Black Knights and the Raiders needed overtime to settle the issue. Henninger got the win Friday night, 62-55, on its home court. The Black Knights also captured the other overtime tilt, in last March's Section III Class AA final at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
The win gave the Black Knights to 9-3 overall record, a perfect 8-0 mark within the CNY Counties League, and some revenge over Proctor for an early season, 68-56 non-league loss at Utica. The Raiders are 10-2, and 5-2 in league play.
“It’s huge (in that it) gives us a two game lead,” Henninger coach Eric Saroney said. “We only have three games left. It puts us in the driver’s seat where we control our own destiny. A league championship gets us another (year marker) on the banner, and that’s a big deal to us.”
Henninger never trailed in the four-minute OT period. Black Knights sparkplug Tommie Spinner scored the first four points on a pair of free throws and a lay-up.
“A lot of times, the team that scores first has the advantage,” Saroney said. “Tommie getting those points was huge.”
Proctor hung around to twice pull within one point (54-53 and 56-55), but the hosts kept the lead by not turning the ball over, and hitting their free throws. The Black Knights’ final six points came from the charity stripe.
“(Henninger) made some plays at the end of the game. We didn’t,” Raiders coach Norm Stamboly said. “Basically that was the difference. They made some hustle plays. They got some rebounds. They made some steals off our lazy passes."
Stamboly may have been disappointed at the result, but he had to be feeling good at halftime. His Raiders impressively turned around a nine-point deficit (24-15) to head into intermission down only one, 31-30.