Feb 17, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
No matter what else goes into post-season success, sometimes it’s just how the draw turns out that can make all the difference.
Bishop Grimes knows this on two fronts. The girls Cobras, no. 16 in the state Class B rankings, ended up with a no. 6 seed for its sectional tournament, which provided good news in the short term and more troubling news in the long term.
The good part came quickly, as the Cobras, hosting no. 11 seed General Brown in last Friday night’s opening round, withstood an early shooting barrage and turned back the Lions 59-45.
Not known as a good outside shooting team, GB hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter and led 18-10 at one point before the Cobras started to defend the outside and, gradually, took over.
After gaining a 25-24 halftime lead, Grimes went on a 19-6 tear that covered the third quarter, getting baskets from six different players, but keyed by Tina Hoag’s back-to-back 3-pointers. This made it 44-30, and by making nine of 13 free throws down the stretch, the Cobras were able to hang on to that margin.
Hoag finished with 15 points, while Katy McInerney provided a big inside presence, finishing with 12 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Vaught and Teresa Shattuck had nine points apiece as Maria Gronau added eight points and Megan Costello six points. Between them, the Lions’ sister duo of Katie and Rhea Pitkin made nine 3-pointers as Katie got 18 points and Rhea added 17 points.
The only bad part of this for Grimes was that, in the Class B quarterfinals, it faces no. 3 seed Westhill, who beat the Cobras twice in the regular season, including a 55-23 romp on Feb. 1. The winner here would get South Jefferson or Altmar-Parish-Williamstown in the semifinals.
So the draw may have started to work against the Grimes girls – but the boys didn’t mind seeing its no. 10 seed when the sectional tournament bracket came out.
That was because the Cobras would get to visit no. 7 seed Holland Patent in the opening round, knowing it had faced much tougher competition at less than full strength, and was now injury-free, something the Golden Knights found out as, in Saturday’s game, Grimes beat them 60-41.
HP’s 11-7 mark didn’t mean much here, even as it led 17-16 after one period and stayed close to the Cobras, only trailing 29-26 at halftime. A tough, relentless Grimes defense wore the Golden Knights down, holding them to just 15 points the rest of the way.
Tom Steinberg, in particular, ruined the Golden Knights, putting away 25 points, while Akol Ater worked outside to get 16 points. Joe Arrigo added eight points as Logan Reinold led HP with 17 points, but none of his teammates reached double figures.
Contrast that with how Grimes entered the playoffs, as it had lost three in a row, capped by last Monday night’s 57-44 defeat to Syracuse Academy of Science.
Already trailing 17-12, the Cobras saw the Atoms go on a 17-7 run to close the first half and create a 34-19 margin, which it could not overcome. Matt Bitz had 10 points, with Tom Steinberg held to nine points. Johnny Wike (seven points) and Steve King (six points) were close behind as Jayson Brower led SAS with 24 points.
All of that faded away at Holland Patent, giving Grimes a chance at a winnable Class B quarterfinal Tuesday night against no. 2 seed Sherburne-Earlville. The winner here is in Friday’s semifinal at Onondaga Community College against Utica-Notre Dame or Skaneateles.