Dec 11, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Liverpool’s boys basketball team is quickly finding out that it has all sorts of ways to hurt an opponent – as rival Cicero-North Syracuse would find out in Tuesday night’s renewal of their long-simmering neighborhood rivalry.
From Caleb Taylor’s first-half surge to Joe Kenney’s well-timed outburst midway through the second half, the Warriors got what it needed to defeat the host Northstars 77-63.
A large, enthusiastic crowd ventured to the C-NS gymnasium, with reason for the enthusiasm. The Northstars had made it through a tough opening week 2-1, beating both CBA and Utica Proctor, while Liverpool had won both of its games in a tournament in Niagara Falls.
However, C-NS was still short-handed, since Connor Evans had not fully recovered from the concussion he suffered in the team’s narrow loss to Nottingham on Dec. 5. Evans is expected to return next week.
Taking full advantage of this, Liverpool, with its big guard trio of Taylor and sophomores Tyler Sullivan and Jaydakis Scott, attacked from the outset, pushing the Warriors to a 19-7 edge late in the first quarter.
Liverpool maintained that edge the rest of the half, in large measure due to Taylor. With forwards Chris Allen (foul trouble) and Matt Hunter (injury) sitting out, Taylor continued to drive past C-NS defenders to the basket on a regular basis, leading to scoring opportunities.
By halftime, Taylor had 16 points, and the Warriors were still up by double digits, 38-26, but the Northstars were far from done.
Led by Troy McIntyre, who scored eight of his 12 points in the third quarter, the Northstars clawed back with an 18-7 outburst. When McIntyre buried a 3-pointer late in the period, Liverpool’s lead was down to three, 48-45, and Taylor had gone cold.
Someone else had to step up – and it proved to be Kenney. The 5-foot-10 senior guard connected on a big 3-pointer just before the third period ended to stretch the margin to 53-46, but that was just the beginning.
Following baskets by Allen and Scott, Kenney followed with another 3-pointer, and when he converted his third shot beyond the arc with 5:49 to play, the lead was back to 63-48, and the Warriors were never threatened again.
All of Kenney’s 11 points came in that decisive 17-3 run. He was one of five Warriors to reach double figures as Scott gained 14 points, Sullivan earned 13 points and Justin Capoto threw in 11 points. Brian DeMonte led C-NS with 14 points as Ronnie Williams and Austin Perry had nine points apiece.
Now both teams got tough road tests on Friday night. C-NS went to defending Class AA champion Henninger, while Liverpool ventured to 2-0 Fayetteville-Manlius. And both would lose – the Northstars to the Black Knights 67-57, the Warriors to the Hornets 67-62.
Of the two, Liverpool had the closer call. Throughout the first half, anything the Hornets did, the Warriors would match. That led to a series of mini-runs, but nothing that was sustained, so F-M and Liverpool went to the break tied, 33-33.
With Liverpool’s defense bent on stopping John Schurman, other F-M players got open looks, including Louis Avellino and Mike Hoalcraft, who would combine for eight 3-pointers as the Hornets inched out in front in the third quarter.
Then Avellino hit consecutive 3s early in the final period to give F-M a double-digit margin, 55-45, but again Liverpool fought back, the comeback led by Brandon Derouchie, who hit four 3-pointers on the night and had 18 points overall.
Sullivan’s 3-pointer with 1:30 left cut the Hornets’ lead to 62-58, but from there, F-M stayed cool, making six of eight free throws in the homestretch to hang on.
Aside from Derouchie, Taylor, with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Scott, with 12 points, made the biggest impact for the Warriors, while Sullivan had eight points.
Avellino led F-M with 18 points, most of it from five 3-pointers. Hoalcraft had a season-best 14 points as Schurman, held to a season-low 13 points, still had a double-double, earning 12 rebounds. Point guard Jake Wittig augmented his 11 points with 11 assists, three rebounds and three steals.
C-NS, meanwhile, still was without Evans at Henninger, but stayed competitive all game long. The problem was that it could not put together a sustained run, falling behind 37-29 by halftime and spending the second half in catch-up mode, not letting the Black Knights get away – but not drawing closer, either.
Williams, with 14 points, led the Northstars’ effort, while DeMonte (13 points) and Steven Theetge (11 points) lagged close behind.
On Henninger’s side, Romero Collier augmented his 15 points with 14 assists as Marquane Silvers got 13 points and 12 rebounds. Shiaitique Blatche led with 17 points and Keisean Scott added 12 points.