While not at the top of the list of Section III Class AA title contenders due to early-season defeats to Henninger and Fayetteville-Manlius, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team is right behind them, poised to go even higher should events warrant.
At the very least, the Northstars are handling its own business quite well, as it demonstrated again in last Tuesday’s game at Corcoran, where a fast start keyed a 71-61 victory over the Cougars.
Before Corcoran could settle in, C-NS had raced to a 17-6 first-quarter lead, mostly due to the work of Connor Evans, who kept driving past Cougar defenders and put shots home.
All through the rest of the game, a pattern established itself. Corcoran might creep closer, but every time the Northstars reestablished a double-digit margin.
Evans didn’t let up until he had put together his best all-around effort of the season, earning 27 points, eight assists and three steals.
The assists show that Evans got his teammates involved, as reflected in Troy McIntyre’s 15 points and four steals, plus the eight points from both Brian DeMonte and David Verrett. Ronnie Williams added seven points as Corcoran’s Marquis Gilbert led his side with 17 points, but no other Cougar scored in double figures.
Another exciting game followed on Friday night, against Oswego. As the large C-NS student section created a “White Out”, the Northstars needed every bit of hot outside shooting from Evans and DeMonte to fend off the Buccaneers and prevail by a score of 70-65.
C-NS trailed Oswego (who had lost to West Genesee earlier in the week) through much of the first half, but stayed close, and only had a three-point deficit, 28-25, to deal with at the break.
Then the pace picked up in the third quarter. Oswego tried every conceivable defense, but Evans and DeMonte still found their rhythm beyond the arc and kept converting, helping C-NS seize a 48-45 lead going to the final period.