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Schurman, defense pushes Hornets past Henninger

F-M boys hoops gain confidence from early-season win

— Having closed the gap to 36-32 at halftime, F-M faced a dilemma - namely, how to keep Henninger's rugged group of forwards from constantly driving to the basket to get close-up shots.

The adjustment involved setting Cormac Bettinger at the back of the Hornets' trademark 1-3-1 zone, with Avellino harassing Collier at the point. Blackford said the efforts of Bettinger and Avellino gave the entire team a lift.

Just as important, said Schurman, "we wore them down and got the paint clogged."

As a result, Henninger went into a decisive drought. After Justin McGann sank a 3-pointer with 2:35 left in the third quarter to extend F-M's lead back to 46-42, it did not score again until Collier made two free throws with 1:48 to play - a dry spell that consumed nearly nine minutes.

That was more than enough time for the Hornets, who went on a 15-0 run, and 13 of those points came from Schurman, who was responsible for all but one of F-M's points in the third period and used a pair of 3-pointers, plus a steal and dunk, to stretch out the lead.

Henninger's frustration boiled over as Collier was given a technical foul with 5:55 left. And though the Black Knights did make a belated surge (helped by F-M missing some late free throws), it was too late.

Of F-M's first eight games, seven of them on the road, the lone exception next Friday's home opener against Liverpool, which follows a Tuesday visit to West Genesee.

Blackford said that, though the win over Henninger was a big one, it was still just a step in a long process where he wants F-M to peak much later in the season.

"We're trying to make our guys mentally tougher (this year)," he said. "We want to play our best basketball in February."

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