SYRACUSE Before 2013 could end, the Bishop Ludden boys basketball team had one more chance to leave an impression on the local hoops scene – and did so with ease and flair.
Behind 26 points and eight rebounds from senior Dan Kaigler, the Gaelic Knights won its annual Rosemary Corcoran Holiday Classic with a 72-54 win over Syracuse Academy of Science Saturday night.
Ludden, who is the top ranked class A team in the latest state poll, made it look easy both nights of this tournament after cruising past Oswego Friday night 64-44 in its first-round matchup.
Against the Buccaneers, Ludden steadily built a healthy margin in the first half, eventually leading 34-21 by the time they reached the break. Any hopes of Oswego rallying got snuffed out as the Gaelic Knights outscored them 19-13 in an active third quarter.
Kaigler backed up his 22 points with 14 rebounds, while Ben Hackett was right behind, snaring 20 points as Zach Walser (eight points) and Kevin Sierotnik (six points) provided solid support. Ryan Lavner, with 25 points, had more than half the Bucs’ production.
Now Ludden faced SAS, who had edged New Hartford 63-61 in an opening-round thriller, but could not recover from a first half where Ludden, with Kaigler dominating in the paint and Sierotnik hitting all kinds of outside shots, roared to a 37-19 halftime lead.
The Atoms were led by Jason Brower's 18 points and went on a mini-run in the second half, but it proved to be too little too late for a team that just couldn't compete with Ludden's combination of size and shooting.
Kaigler was named MVP, but he wasn’t alone. Jack Rauch took full advantage of SAS’s defensive attention on Hackett and earned 18 points, while Sierotnik managed a season-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers.
Ludden remains undefeated at 6-0 on the season, with teams really struggling to find a rhythm against the Gaelic Knights’ full-court press. It has yet to play in a game that was in doubt down the stretch, with the closest game being a 15-point win over Henninger on Dec. 7.
In the consolation game, Oswego edged out New Hartford in a tightly contested game 48-42 behind 20 points from Zach Gillard and 10 points from all-tournament 1st team member Ryan Lavner. Oswego is now 3-4 while New Hartford fell to 3-5.