Cicero-North Syracuse guard Connor Evans (1) goes up for a shot in Saturday night's Section III Class A final at the Carrier Dome. Evans had 33 points, but the Northstars lost 83-79 to the Raiders.
continued For the Northstars, seeking its first sectional title since 2010 (when, ironically, it beat Proctor on Anthony DelCoro's banked-in 3-pointer at the buzzer), it was a tough defeat to take, but Haas said the real culprit was that his team struggled all night to keep Proctor in check.
"We didn't defend at all," he said. "We tried everything, but they still beat us."
In short, the game did not resemble, in any way, C-NS's 53-48 win over Proctor on Dec. 6, played early in the season when the Raiders were still finding its form and Connor Evans sat out with a concussion.
Proctor, confident after knocking out defending champion Henninger in the AA semifinals, led most of the first quarter, but Connor Evans changed that in the second period, notching 11 points, including a rare four-point play, to help the Northstars grab a 40-34 halftime lead.
When Connor Evans made yet another 3-pointer early in the third quarter, the C-NS lead grew to 43-34, but Proctor, led by Reed and J'Von Evans (who would finish with 29 points), crawled back and, by the start of the final period, had gone in front 60-57.
Falling behind 64-59 and 73-69 at different points in the fourth quarter, C-NS rallied behind Williams, who notched 11 points, the last of them giving the Northstars that 79-74 edge that would prove fleeting once Williams picked up that crucial fifth foul and went to the bench.
As Proctor advanced to play the Section II champion (Green Tech or Guilderland) next Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy in the AA regional final, C-NS dealt with the painful end of its 14-7 season, which included an upset of top seed Fayetteville-Manlius in the sectional semifinals.
Williams, DeMonte, Austin Perry, Andrew Boczyk and Bryan Schenk graduate, but the return of Evans, Nick Antonello and Devin Turrell, among others, should still make the Northstars a potent threat in 2014-15 to get back to the Dome - and perhaps, finish it off.