Jan 19, 2013 Kris Russell Uncategorized
Buried under a barrage of 3-pointers by Fayetteville-Manlius earlier in the week, the West Genesee boys basketball team got close to making up for it, even though it was short-handed.
Nottingham nipped the visiting Wildcats, 55-53, in a Friday-night thriller not decided until the last moments. Henry Sullivan’s pull-up jump shot with 23 seconds left was the difference as WG guard Trevor Smith then drove the lane and took a shot for a tie with three seconds left, but it hung on the rim and fell off.
WG played without leading scorer and team captain Phil Allen, and three other key players. Allen suffered an ankle injury in practice Thursday.
“Our other kids stepped up and played hard, (and) I’m very proud of them for that,” head coach Fred Kent said. “We didn’t really have a full practice to adjust playing without (Allen). I thought the kids did a pretty good job on the fly.”
The fourth quarter featured seven lead changes and five ties. WG took its final advantage (53-51) on two Smith free throws with 1:30 left. Nottingham pulled even 20 seconds later through Tyquan Rolon’s basket.
The Wildcats failed to score on the resulting possession, setting up Sullivan to play hero. The Bulldogs worked the ball to Sullivan, who cut inside the three point line and hit his jumper from 15 feet out.
“We’ve been talking to (Sullivan) all year long that everything doesn’t have to go to the basket out of control,” Nottingham coach Greg Jones said. “(Instead), try a one or two dribble pull-up jump shot. He finally did it and it won us a game.”
That Nottingham was able to keep it close heading into the fourth was thanks to a late third-quarter spurt that all but erased a Wildcat eight-point lead (37-29). Rolon’s 3-pointer at the buzzer capped a 7-0 spurt.
“The 3 by Rolon was huge,” Kent said. “That hurt.”
WG and Nottingham played to a 17-17 standoff after one period. The second quarter featured plenty of turnovers, mostly by the Wildcats, and poor shooting, mostly from the Bulldogs. The difference was WG’s shooting, which helped the Wildcats take a 29-21 lead at intermission.
Smith paced the Wildcats (6-5) with 18 points, going 11-of-12 from the free-throw line. Mike Henry dropped in 16 points. Brett Colvin and Shane Temara had eight points apiece. Rolon led the winners with 19 points as Marty Clanton added 15 points and Josh Ivey pitched in with nine points.
Throughout this winter, the Wildcats have veered between brilliant and brutal stretches of play, never staying in either place.
The Wildcats were enjoying one of those brilliant stretches, thanks to wins over Utica Proctor and Liverpool, when it hosted F-M last Tuesday – and found itself back in a darker spot in the wake of an 82-61 loss to the Hornets.
What happened here, essentially, was a repeat of the Dec. 28 consolation game of the Cicero-North Syracuse Holiday Tournament, where New Hartford used a barrage of outside shots to beat the Wildcats 73-68.
F-M, just like New Hartford, would make 13 3-pointers, 11 of them in a blistering first-half display that left the Wildcats in a 52-30 hole that it would not climb out of the rest of the night.
Since WG was playing well, F-M could not afford to look ahead toward Friday’s highly-anticipated home clash with fellow Class AA favorite Henninger.
Fittingly, F-M took the lead for good early in the first quarter on John Schurman’s initial 3-point connection. Six more successful shots from outside the arc would follow in wild 30-19 first quarter where the Wildcats also found some success penetrating the Hornets’ 1-3-1 defense.
But with Jake Wittig pulling off a series of steals in the second quarter, F-M started to get away, continuing to strike with four more 3-pointers – two from Schurman, one each from Louis Avellino and Tomer Nesher.
By halftime, Schurman had 20 points (he would finish with 26), and try as it could, the Wildcats could not eat into that margin during the second half, despite 17 points from Henry and 14 points from Allen. Smith (nine points) and Temara (seven points) were kept quiet for most of the night.