Feb 01, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
No matter the venue or the gender, Jamesville-DeWitt’s basketball teams put together valuable and instructive conquests of Cortland on Tuesday night.
The girls Red Rams are still unbeaten following an impressive 49-29 home victory over the Purple Tigers, and the J-D boys remain the team to catch in Class A after surviving a 54-46 test in Cortland’s packed and raucous gym.
Possessing the no. 6 state Class A ranking and a 14-0 mark, J-D’s girls knew the main challenge against Cortland, whom it beat 43-39 on Dec. 13, was containing senior Maggie Brown, who came into the contest averaging more than 25 points per game.
And for the most part, J-D succeeded on that front. Granted, Brown did have 17 points, but she was shut out in the third quarter, just when the Rams broke the game open.
“We’re predicated on getting stops and forcing tough shots,” said J-D coach Rob Siechen. “We wanted to make it as hard as possible on Maggie, and then have someone else take the shots.”
Never trailing, the Rams held Cortland to a scant four points in the first quarter, and led by as much as nine in the second period before a brief Purple Tigers surge cut the margin to 20-17 at halftime.
Fuming at that lapse, J-D cranked up the defense again in the third quarter, as Cortland didn’t score for the first 4:30 of the period, allowing the Rams to regain a 27-17 edge. The Purple Tigers never got closer than eight points again, and just to be sure, the hosts opened the final period by going on a decisive 10-2 run.
Abbey Smith led that late push on the offensive end, scoring 10 of her career-high 12 points in the second half to complement the work of Cydney Goodrum, who led with 15 points, and Kayleigh Cavanaugh, who also had 12 points. Siechen also had high praise for Katie Maroney and her defensive effort in the last two periods after picking up two early fouls.
As this was going on, more than 1,500 jammed into every possible seat and standing spot in the Cortland gym for the boys basketball showdown between the two consensus Class A favorites.
Most of them wanted to see the state Class A no. 12-ranked Purple Tigers repeat what it did a year ago – namely, beat no. 1-ranked J-D on its home floor, and get payback for a 59-51 defeat to the Rams in December. Were it not for an unlikely contributor, Cortland might have pulled it off.
At the least, Cortland forced the Rams into a pace it did not want throughout an 18-18 first half. Offensively, the Purple Tigers were patient with the ball, working the shot clock down, and on defense it constantly put two or three defenders on Dajuan Coleman to keep him from getting the ball.
So a larger scoring burden fell on J-D’s guards, especially Pete Drescher. And Drescher was ready for it, getting nearly half his team’s points (eight) in those first two periods, atoning for the struggles Coleman and Tyler Cavanaugh faced.
In the third quarter, though, the pace picked up on both sides. Cavanaugh, on his way to a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, hit key baskets to counter Cortland’s thrusts, and the Rams inched in front, 38-36, with one period left.
Then it was Coleman and Cavanaugh hitting on six straight points early in the fourth quarter, pushing J-D’s margin to 44-38, and though Cortland never lost sight, it would get thwarted in the waning minutes by clutch free-throw shooting from Drescher and Cavanaugh.
All told, Drescher had a season-best 20 points to lead both sides. Coleman, despite the defensive blanket thrown on him, still managed 13 points and 13 rebounds. In defeat, the Purple Tigers saw Jon Prior (14 points) and J.P. Reagan (11 points) reach double figures.