SYRACUSE Exactly 374 days after having its 2012-13 season ended by Bishop Ludden in the playoffs, the Jamesville-Dewitt boys basketball team figured to have a strong chance to return the favor, only this time with higher stakes as the Section III Class A title was on the line.
Unfortunately for the Red Rams, heightened stakes meant heightened play from the Gaelic Knights, whose offensive juggernaut once again proved too much for J-D as it took a 75-49 defeat Saturday night at the Carrier Dome, and Ludden earned its second straight sectional crown.
It started off in a way no fan would expect, especially given the Dome’s reputation as a tough place to shoot from outside because of all the depth perception issues the larger building causes – especially for players accustomed to the sight lines from smaller gymnasiums.
Ludden’s Kyle Hawk and Ben Hackett hit six nearly uncontested 3pointers between them in the opening minutes of the first quarter, amounting to a quick 18-5 lead. The Gaelic Knights cooled off a bit (though Hawk hit another 3-pointer), and the Rams exited the first frame down 27-16.
The game only became uglier as the rest of the Gaelic Knights - mainly its senior forward, Dan Kaigler - got involved. J-D couldn’t muster a point in the second quarter until Jafar Kinsey hit two free throws with 3:19 left in the quarter.
But then Ludden experienced a drought of its own the rest of the half, in part due to a stunning injury suffered by junior forward Jack Rauch.
With 2:13 left in the half, Rauch got tangled up with J-D’s Jake Eich on a drive to the hole, twisting his ankle when it got caught on Eich’s foot. Rauch was clearly in pain, and was eventually brought off the court on a stretcher.