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Schurman, defense pushes Hornets past Henninger

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

— John Schurman waited less than 15 seconds before launching a 3-point shot on the opening possession of the third quarter in Friday's boys basketball showdown between Fayetteville-Manlius and Henninger at the 11th annual Peppino's Invitational.

Up to that point, the Hornets senior had not made one from outside the arc in the game. And this one almost rimmed out, too, but it twice rolled around the rim and then, finally, dropped through the net.

"To see one go down felt good," said Schurman.

More of Schurman's shots - inside, outside and at the foul line - would fall throughout the second half, as he managed 20 points, nearly as much as the entire Black Knights squad, and that helped F-M produce a 62-58 victory over the defending Section III Class AA champions.

"We had great energy tonight and competed really well," said F-M head coach Tom Blackford.

A year ago, F-M also beat Henninger in their lone regular-season encounter, and earned the top seed for the sectional tournament - only to get stunned, 68-61, by Utica Proctor in the semifinals, opening the door for the no. 2 seed Black Knights, who beat Proctor at the Carrier Dome in the title game.

Schurman, Jake Wittig, Louis Avellino and the rest of F-M's returning players have stewed on that result ever since, and were quite eager to start again in 2013-14, even without the likes of Tomer Nesher and T.J. Wheatley in the lineup.

Henninger was just as eager to get going, too, and take the Hornets' measure, with most of the focus centering on the point-guard showdown between Wittig and the Black Knights' Romero Collier.

It was Collier getting the best of the battle in the first half, his deft dribbling and passes helping Henninger gain a 32-25 lead late in the second quarter. F-M hung close thanks to Avellino getting 13 points and Schurman, despite his outside issues, still managing 10 points.

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