Jan 20, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
An eventful week for the East Syracuse-Minoa basketball teams started with a confrontation against a reigning state champion with a no. 1 ranking, included two thrillers against Fulton and ended with the school honoring its latest class of Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
The girls Spartans reached the .500 mark on Thursday night, at Fulton, where it overcame a slow start to pull out a dramatic 54-51 victory over the Red Raiders.
Through one period, ESM trailed, 13-6, and despite seeing its attack pick up in the second period, the Spartans still were down 28-20 at halftime.
Then, in the third quarter, ESM made up most of the deficit, putting together one of its best sustained runs of the season as it reduced Fulton’s lead to one, 42-41.
It remained tense and tight all the way to the waning moments. With the score tied, 51-51, Danielle Ventrone flashed open and, from beyond the 3-point arc, drained what proved to be the game-winner with just one second to play.
Gabby Eure proved tough to stop in the paint, finishing with 16 points, while Nicole Cassella hit three 3-pointers to account for most of her 13 points. Stephanie Edmonds finished with eight points.
All of this led to the boys game between ESM and Fulton, and providing the perfect touch for the Hall of Fame festivities, the Spartans won its own thriller over the Red Raiders, nearly matching the girls game right down to the point total in a 53-51 decision.
Much like the girls, ESM trailed early, but erased a first-quarter deficit and were even, 27-27, before a third-quarter slump helped Fulton go back in front 39-34.
Somehow, the Spartans played its best down the stretch and pulled it out, overcoming the 22 points from Cody Green and 13 points from Mark Pollock that led the Red Raiders’ efforts.
Of Sean Richardson’s 20 points, eight came from free throws. Brandon Breen stepped up for nine points, while Eyan Underwood had seven points. MacDougall and Jah-Meer McDuffie got six points apiece.
Way back on Monday, ESM played the first of two games in a 10-day span against Bishop Ludden, who had just risen to the top spot in the state Class A rankings.
Showing why it was so highly regarded, the Gaelic Knights beat ESM 60-41, doing most of its damage in the first quarter as it jumped all over the Spartans and built a 20-4 advantage.
To its credit, ESM played Ludden on fairly even terms the rest of the way, getting 10 points from three different players – Richardson, McDuffie and Underwood – while Dan MacDougall added nine points. The Gaelic Knights stayed in front, though, as Ben Hackett led them with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists.
With no time to rest, The Spartans went to Homer 24 hours later and were in a tight battle until the final minutes, when it pulled away for a 52-41 victory over the Trojans.
After it gained a 17-8 first-quarter lead, ESM nearly saw that lead vanish, Homer rallying to pull within 27-25 by halftime. Staying cool, the Spartans held the Trojans to five points in the third quarter, giving it time to regroup offensively and make a strong late push.
Through it all, Richardson carried a large part of the load, as his 25 points accounted for nearly half of ESM’s production. MacDougall, with 11 points, and Underwood, with 10 points, also reached double figures as Jeff McDuffie returned and got three points.
ESM’s girls took care of last Tuesday’s game against Homer, rolling past the Trojans 50-38. The Spartans erased an early deficit with an 18-9 second-quarter push, and extended the margin to 39-23 by the end of the third period, out of Homer’s reach.
Cassella, with 12 points, led a well-balanced attack. Eure worked inside for 10 points, while Danielle Ventrone managed nine points. Eight different ESM players picked up field goals.