Jan 09, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
When the weather finally warmed up – and behaved – long enough for boys basketball to resume, Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool both had great opportunities to earn big victories, at home, against the two favorites in the Section III Class AA title race.
Neither of them would come through, though, as they both surrendered fourth-quarter leads in Wednesday night’s action and lost – the Northstars 58-51 to Fayetteville-Manlius, the Warriors 75-64 to defending champion Henninger.
This was, for C-NS, the lone shot at F-M in the regular season. The Hornets had started 6-0 before a Dec. 30 defeat to Maine-Endwell at the Stop-DWI Tournament in Binghamton, while C-NS had not played since beating then no. 9-ranked Webster Schroeder 72-68 in overtime on Dec. 27.
The long breaks for both teams inevitably led to a ragged, uneven contest with plenty of missed shots, whether it was the Hornets’ struggles with outside shooting or the Northstars’ inability to make a series of good looks from inside five feet.
Both sides saw its top paint presences get into foul trouble, too. C-NS’s Ronnie Williams saw his minutes limited, and would foul out midway through the fourth quarter. F-M’s Cormac Bettinger was whistled for three fouls less than two minutes into the game and was never a factor.
Hornets senior John Schurman, despite hitting his first jump shot of the night, never found any sort of consistency, either. Still, he managed to lead F-M to a 24-17 lead late in the first half.
Then C-NS’s star junior guard, Connor Evans, gave the home fans a jolt of energy, scoring six points in a 12-2 run to close the half, giving his side a 29-26 lead going to the break.
Even when the Hornets reclaimed the lead with a 9-0 third-quarter spurt, C-NS answered, and the two sides would go back and forth deep into the final period.
What ultimately hurt the Northstars, though, were those missed shots, as it wore down in the face of F-M’s 1-3-1 pressure. C-NS would manage just one field goal in the last 5:11, and Evans, who had 15 points, was shut out in the fourth quarter.
Brian DeMonte led C-NS with 17 points. Schurman mostly relied on a series of short jumpers and free throws to pick up 25 points, adding six rebounds. Mike Hoalcraft, forced into longer minutes due to Bettinger’s foul trouble, earned 10 rebounds to go with seven points, while Witting had eight points and seven assists.
Meanwhile, Liverpool was looking to avenge a 64-40 defeat to Henninger on Dec. 17, and appeared to have a better chance at doing so since the Black Knights had two new starters in the lineup and had pulled players up from the JV ranks, too.
As Henninger struggled to find its rhythm, Liverpool blasted to a 28-18 first-quarter lead. It would then spend the next two periods nursing that margin as the Black Knights made a series of runs at them.
Going into the final quarter, the Warriors were still in front, 51-49. But it had missed its best chance, and Henninger took full advantage, roaring into the lead and keeping it behind eight late free throws from junior point guard Romero Collier, who finished with 20 points.
In defeat, Liverpool’s Tyler Sullivan led both sides with 23 points. Jaydakis Scott had 13 points, with Caleb Taylor adding 11 points.
Henninger put five players in double figures, including one of those new starters, Destin Blunt (13 points), and that JV call-up, K.J. White, who had 10 points. Marquane Silvers (14 points) and Keisean Scott (10 points) contributed, too.
That defeat seemed to have a lingering effect on Liverpool, who would go to Oswego on Friday and lose a 57-51 decision to the Buccaneers.
Cold in the first half, the Warriors fell behind 28-21, and it could not fully recover, every run answered by Oswego as Zach Gillard (19 points) and Ryan Lavner (18 points) led the Bucs. Sullivan, in defeat, got 13 points, with Matt Hunter adding 10 points. Taylor got eight points.
Meanwhile, C-NS had no trouble resuming its winning form, smashing Auburn 83-42, doing most of the damage in a first half where it offense ran wild on the Maroons and built up a 47-21 lead.
DeMonte, in particular, had a lot of fun, draining seven 3-pointers on his way to a career-high total of 29 points. But he wasn’t alone, as 11 different Northstars hit at least one field goal. Evans got 16 points, with Williams and Steven Theetge earning six points apiece. Nick Antonello had six points.