Jan 12, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Hundreds of fans streamed into Jamesville-DeWitt’s gymnasium Friday night for the latest incarnation of the basketball doubleheaders featuring J-D and Christian Brothers Academy.
What they got was a tense girls battle where the Brothers handed the Red Rams its first defeat of the season in a 43-37 decision, and the J-D boys salvaging a split by dominating from start to finish in a 64-39 romp.
Of the two, the girls game carried far more weight. J-D was not only 10-0, it possessed the no. 4 state Class A ranking. CBA entered the game with its own 9-1 mark, coming off a 73-43 win over Cortland on Tuesday where sophomore Julie Cuomo scored a career-best 35 points.
The Brothers knew that wouldn’t happen against the Red Rams’ stout defense, but it still took full advantage of J-D’s first-quarter drought by hitting a trio of 3-pointers, one each from Cuomo, Marisa Romeo and Natalie Nardella, and led 13-4 early in the second period.
Then CBA went cold, and with Alyssa Robens earning eight first-half points, the Rams went on a 12-1 run and held the Brothers without a field goal for more than six minutes.
Still, back-to-back baskets from Nardella pushed CBA in front, 18-16, going into halftime. Head coach John Niland said his team knew that, to reach a higher level, it would need production from someone other than Romeo or Cuomo, and Nardella would provide it on this night.
But it was the Pitonzo sisters, Alyssa and Olivia, that made key 3-pointers in the third quarter as CBA, with its own 12-1 spurt, surged to a 30-19 lead. Again, the Red Rams fought back, with a 12-3 spurt culminated by Kayleigh Cavanaugh’s steal and lay-up with 4:11 to play.
With its lead trimmed down to two, 33-31, the Brothers got a much-needed basket from Romeo. Then, with 2:03 left, Nardella, whose 3-pointer was the lone interruption in J-D’s fourth-quarter surge, struck again from beyond the arc, giving her 13 points for the night, a career mark.
That made it 38-31, and J-D never got closer than five again, despite a strong inside effort from Cydney Goodrum, who finished with 14 points.
Romeo led with 15 points, and despite foul trouble she got a handful of key blocks down the stretch. As a whole, CBA’s defense excelled, holding Robens and Cavanaugh to one field goal apiece in the second half.
When that was done, it was time for the boys game and for another chance for J-D to show that, at full strength, it was a squad far removed from the injury-plagued unit that started the season 2-5.
Only once did the Rams trail, at 3-2 less than 90 seconds into the game, but J-D proceeded to hold the Brothers without a field goal for five-plus minutes on its way to a 17-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.
After CBA cut the margin to 17-11, the Rams all but decided matters by closing the half on a 19-6 run, sparked by Rasheed Baker, who came off the bench to score nine points in a span of less than two minutes.
J-D’s defense, featuring Baker and James Dourdas, centered its attention on CBA’s top scorer, Mike Russo, and held him to one field goal in the first half. Meanwhile, Baker and Jafar Kinsey (10 first-half points) provided plenty of production on the other end.
Any doubts were erased when Dom DeRegis, shut out in the first two periods, scored all of his 10 points in the third quarter, the margin growing to 59-25 by the end of that frame as J-D’s starters sat out the entire fourth quarter.