SYRACUSE No one would end up losing Saturday night's wild, thrilling Section III Class AA boys basketball championship game at the Carrier Dome. One team would just have more points at the end.
Cicero-North Syracuse badly wanted to be that team, but a key departure at an ill-timed moment turned things in Utica Proctor's favor, and the Raiders rallied to beat the Northstars 83-79 to earn the sectional title.
Ahead 79-74 late in the fourth quarter, C-NS was getting a career-best effort from Connor Evans, who had poured in 33 points, and big performances from Ronnie Williams, who had 21 points, and Troy McIntyre, who contributed 14 points.
But with barely more than two minutes left, Williams fouled out, taking away the Northstars' primary inside threat, and freeing up Proctor's defenders, who had struggled all night stopping anything C-NS tried, to go after Evans any time he had the ball.
That led to turnovers, and the Raiders turned them into five unanswered points, all from J'Von Evans, whose jumper with 1:04 left tied it, 79-79. Then, after Connor Evans saw his 3-pointer blocked, Proctor got it back and Tyvon Reed, who would also finish with 33 points, hit the go-ahead basket with 35 seconds left.
C-NS used both of its remaining time-outs trying to answer. Head coach John Haas said that the play was designed to draw the defense toward Connor Evans so that he could find an open teammate and, sure enough, Brian DeMonte was left alone in the corner when three Proctor defenders went to Evans.
The ball never got through, though, as Connor Evans lost control and gave it up. Reed gained possession and, with 9.9 seconds left, was fouled. Under extreme pressure, Reed made both of his free throws, and the Raiders had earned its second sectional title in three years.