Dec 31, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Not content with the way it was handling local Class AA foes, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys basketball team ventured south and hoped to do the same to a pair of Section IV opponents during the Stop DWI Tournament in Binghamton – only to get a rude awakening in the waning hours of 2013.
It was Maine-Endwell delivering that painful but necessary message, the Spartans using its brute physical strength and toughness to beat the state no. 16-ranked Hornets 57-48 and end F-M’s season-opening six-game win streak.
None of this was anticipated when the tournament got underway. Two nights earlier, the opening-round game was a particular cruise for the Hornets, who toyed with Johnson City and roared to an easy 84-34 victory over the Wildcats.
An eight-day layoff following that 82-54 rout over Corcoran on Dec. 20 did nothing to cool off F-M. Rather, it came back refreshed and red-hot, roaring out to a 28-8 lead on Johnson City by the end of the first quarter, and expanding the margin to 43-20 by halftime.
From there, the Hornets kept pushing, led again by John Schurman, who only hit a pair of 3-pointers, but still managed 29 points, plus 11 rebounds.
Louis Avellino had 14 points, while Jake Wittig dished out 11 assists. F-M rested its starters early and, as a result, had 13 different players record at least one field goal by night’s end.
This led to the Hornets’ final against Maine-Endwell. Though not in the state rankings and off to a sluggish 3-2 start, the Spartans, who are the defending Section IV Class A champions, possessed plenty of big, tough athletes that had helped produce three consecutive state football championships from 2011 to ’13.
And it soon became apparent that M-E was going to use that strength to get what it wanted inside, grabbing rebounds every time one of F-M’s outside shots didn’t fall and playing on even terms throughout a tight first half.
At the break, the Hornets trailed by one, 29-28, and despite its struggles from the perimeter, it managed to hang around through playing its own solid defense. Early in the fourth quarter, it moved back within one, 44-43, on Schurman’s pair of free throws.
But M-E promptly went on a 7-0 run, ignited by Drew Gallagher’s 3-pointer, and after F-M closed the gap to 51-47, it managed just one free throw the rest of the way as the Spartans sank a series of foul shots to put away the victory.
F-M made just four 3-pointers, by far its lowest total of the season, and was just seven-for-28 from the field in the second half. Schurman had two of those successful long-range conversions, but got held to 18 points, plus six rebounds.
No one else was in double figures, though Avellino, with nine points and five rebounds, came close. Wittig finished with eight assists, but had just four points. Jake Sinicki paced the victorious Spartans, earning a game-high 20 points, plus nine rebounds.
Now F-M finds out how it rebounds from a defeat when it meets Rush-Henrietta (Section V) Friday night in just its second home game of the season.
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