Jan 18, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team, it was a stark reminder of how things have changed in the local Class A ranks and that it no longer dictates the terms.
But for Cortland, Thursday night’s 70-56 victory over the Red Rams in front of a loud and raucous home crowd at the CHS gymnasium brought a sort of deliverance.
Each of the last two seasons, the Purple Tigers had strong, championship-level teams, only to see those title dreams quashed by J-D in back-to-back Section III Class A finals.
Yet even though the entire starting five from 2011-12 graduated, and long-time head coach Mick Lowie stepped down, Cortland quickly moved on with a new coach (Jeremy Milligan) and a new lineup bent on atoning for those missed opportunities, starting the season 10-0 before a close defeat to Bishop Ludden on Jan. 11.
When the Purple Tigers won at J-D 57-53 on Dec. 14, the Rams still did not have Jeff Edwards in the lineup. Since he came back, J-D had won four in a row, and it ventured to Cortland with a full lineup and a belief that it could turn things around.
At first, the pace was just what the Rams wanted – fast, wild and free-wheeling, as a high-scoring first quarter saw J-D inch into a 25-23 lead.
By the second period, though, the Purple Tigers had slowed things down, locking into its zone and staying patient on the offensive end, too, while still recording baskets. As a result, J-D’s lead, which got as big as 31-27 midway through the quarter, quickly vanished.
At the break, the Rams trailed 40-35, but it really fell apart in the third quarter. Cold shooting, and Cortland’s pressure, limited J-D to just five points in that frame, allowing the Purple Tigers to build a 51-40 edge that the visitors could not overcome in the late going.
Dom DeRegis did have 21 points, but Jafar Kinsey was well-contained, managing just 12 points as Edwards (nine points) and Rasheed Baker (eight points) closely followed.
None of them could match the work of Cortland’s Isaiah Prior, who poured in 24 points, adding nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Prior had ample support, too, as Zach Whelan added 16 points and five rebounds, with Brian Hughes adding 13 points and eight rebounds.
It was just J-D’s luck that it faced Bishop Kearney (Section V) on Saturday just as Syracuse University recruit Chinoso Obokoh returned from an injury that had sidelined him most of the season.
Obokoh would be a small factor as the Kings beat the Red Rams 55-45, managing just seven points, but Kearney jumped all over J-D in the first quarter, streaking to a 17-4 lead.
From there, the Rams were in catch-up mode, getting within five in the third quarter, but no closer. Other than Kinsey, who finished with 20 points, no J-D player scored in double figures as Evan Dourdas got close, with nine points.
While all this was going on, Christian Brothers Academy, who rested for a week after its Jan. 11 defeat to J-D, returned on Friday and beat visiting Fowler 48-36.
Down 11-9 after one period, the Brothers counted on its defense as it gave up just 13 points to the Falcons in the next two quarters, ample time to move out in front and stay there.
On the offensive side, CBA didn’t warm up that much, except for Charlie Russo, who poured in 21 points, nearly half his team’s output, hitting four 3-pointers along the way. Alex Brunner had six points, with Jake Wilcox, Will Brower and Dylan Lambert each earning five points.