Jan 04, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Perhaps the Bishop Ludden students that ventured to Christian Brothers Academy Friday night for the latest renewal of one of Central New York’s biggest rivalries knew more than they realized.
When Ben Hackett hit a corner 3-pointer for the game’s first field goal just a minute into the contest, the green-clad partisans began an “It’s all over!” chant. And they didn’t use it again for the rest of the night.
Of course, the game was just underway, and it would take until the second half for things to really get settled. But the state Class A no. 1-ranked Gaelic Knights did prove too powerful for the Brothers as, led by the forward tandem of Ben Kaigler and Jack Rauch, Ludden prevailed by a score of 59-40.
The “Holy War” rivalry has seen all kinds of ebbs and flows in its history, now more than half a century old after it was famously first played Nov. 22, 1963, hours after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
In the late portion of the last decade, CBA dominated the series, but as the Brothers have tailed off a bit in recent years, Ludden has taken over, a fact that it would reinforce on this night, nearly a week after winning the title of its own Rosemary Corcoran Holiday Classic.
CBA, for its part, was off back-to-back defeats (including a last-second thriller to Jamesville-DeWitt) in the Dec. 29-30 Bottar-Leone Holiday Classic
Other than that early 3-pointer, Hackett was shut out in the first half, but that didn’t matter as Ludden put its pair of 6-foot-6 forwards to good use.
Late in the opening period, with CBA hanging close, Rauch hit on a 3-pointer of his own, plus a pair of free throws, while Kaigler flashed open for a pair of powerful dunks.
The Brothers’ Monte Stroman, with 11 first-half points, kept CBA from falling too far back, but as the second quarter wore on Kaigler and Rauch kept getting open looks inside, and kept converting.
By halftime, Kaigler had 14 points (he finished with 18) and Rauch had 12 points (he finished with 16), and Ludden had a 36-24 edge. And as the game turned physical and chippy early in the second half, the Brothers picked an inopportune time to lose its poise.
Already saddled with three fouls, senior guard Charlie Russo, CBA’s leading scorer this season, got frustrated when he picked up a fourth foul with 3:31 left in the third quarter, and that led to a technical foul, forcing him out of the game.
Taking advantage of his, Ludden went on a decisive 9-0 run to make it 47-28, and the Brothers never got close again. Hackett led the surge, earning nine of his 12 points after the break.
Another high-profile game awaits the Gaelic Knights (7-0) next Friday when Jamesville-DeWitt pays a visit to the Ludden gym, this after a Tuesday game at Mexico.