SYRACUSE At least from the standpoint of Section III Class AA championships, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball team’s “Drive for Five” was an unqualified success.
The Northstars’ fifth sectional crown in a row was attained Thursday night in the Carrier Dome as it withstood a strong early effort from Corcoran and took charge in the second half to beat the Cougars 60-31.
Given that this was the first sectional title earned after Breanna Stewart's departure for Connecticut, head coach Eric Smith said he was happiest for those players who, perhaps, were overshadowed by Stewart in seasons past.
"It means more for the kids that were around the last couple of years," said Smith. "Now they had a chance to show how good they were."
One of those girls, senior and tournament MVP Sarah Bowles, did not qualify or place any difference between this year's champions and those of the previous four seasons.
"Every title is amazing," said Bowles.
Not only did the Northstars have the confidence and experience gathered from four consecutive sectional title runs, it had pushed Corcoran around 63-28 in the Feb. 12 regular-season finale.
In order to turn that lopsided result around, the Cougars had to get a mix of strong inside play with the same sort of hot outside shooting Mary Morgan had displayed when she scored 29 points (including eight 3-pointers) in a 64-61 Class AA semifinal win over CBA.
For a half, Corcoran got what it wanted. Morgan landed the game’s first basket with another of those 3-pointers, and the Cougars didn’t blink when C-NS put together a quick 7-0 run and tried to get control.
Instead, Corcoran fought back to tie it, 9-9, before Abbey Timpano struck for back-to-back 3-pointers late in the period, and C-NS took a 15-9 edge to the second quarter.