On the last night of January, both of Jamesville-DeWitt's basketball teams will engage in key late-season clashes with Cortland that will determine who takes momentum into the Section III Class A playoffs.
The girls Red Rams go there undefeated, at 14-0, having survived a scare Friday night at Fulton as it held on to beat the Red Raiders 49-46.
J-D, carrying the no. 6 state Class A ranking, perhaps expected a stress-free encounter with Fulton, who entered the game at 4-11.
But right from the start, the Red Raiders played effective defense and, taking advantage of cold Rams shooting, led 10-8 after one period. The exchange continued in the second period, J-D unable to get on track and still trailing, 22-20, at the break.
The third quarter proved pivotal. Led again by Cydney Goodrum and Kayleigh Cavanaugh, the Rams outcored Fulton 14-8 in that frame to move in front. Then it held on down the stretch, matching all of the Red Raiders' production.
Goodrum finished with 14 points, six of them free throws, while Cavanaugh had 11 points. Close behind them, Arriell Mussi got nine points and Katie Maroney managed eight points. For Fulton, Darlene Pappalardo had a game-high 17 points and Ashlynn Palmitesso added 11 points.
Now the Rams could look ahead to hosting Cortland (13-2, no. 17 in the state rankings), whom it beat 43-39 on the Purple Tigers' home court Dec. 13. Now, as then, J-D will try to contain Maggie Brown, who had 23 points, 10 rebounds and six steals in that first encounter.
This time around, it's the J-D boys who must make that trip to Cortland, where it lost a season ago before avenging that defeat in the Section III Class A final on its way to a fourth straight state Class A championship.