So now F-M, who beat CBA 69-55 as part of the Bottar-Leone Holiday Classic on Dec. 30, will get a second chance to upend the Brothers, this time at its imposing home court, with a berth in the semifinals against Utica Proctor or Cicero-North Syracuse on the line.'
Bishop Grimes, the pre-season pick to win it all in Class B, only went 11-7 in the regular season. That included two games against Phoenix that were split, adding an air of mystery to their third and most important encounter in the sectional tournament.
Cobras fans got worried after the Firebirds seized a 15-10 first-quarter lead. But the Cobras' attack took off in a pivotal second period, where nearly doubled Phoenix's output, 21-11, en route to a lead it would never relinquish.
During the entire second half, Grimes clamped down on the defensive end, forcing the Firebirds into poor shots and turnovers that led to baskets on the other end, especially in a 20-9 third quarter that all but decided matters.
Jon Carnegie was particularly tough for Phoenix to stop, as the senior forward amassed 24 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
The Firebirds couldn't collapse on him, either, since Tom Steinberg (14 points, six rebounds) was controlling the other part of the paint. Also, Casey Evans put together 11 points, seven assists and four steals to anchor the backcourt as Connor Evans (eight points) and Akol Ater (seven points) helped out.