Dec 23, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Judging by their lone head-to-head meeting in the 2007-08 regular season last Friday night, the Christian Brothers Academy and Jamesville-DeWitt girls basketball teams are heading off in vastly different directions.
For the Brothers, all is smooth at this point, as it improved to 5-1 on the season last Friday night by shutting down the Red Rams for long portions of a 41-29 victory.
As for J-D, the promise of its great start seems a distant memory. Not only was Amanda Koenck gone for the season with a torn ACL, the same fate awaits fellow starter Alyssa Gratien after a knee injury suffered a week earlier in a loss to Pittsford Mendon flared up again in the final minutes of this game.
The Rams’ third consecutive defeat was a textbook course on defense delivered by the Brothers, who never let J-D star guard Brittany Cohen get open for perimeter shots for much of the night.
In all, CBA gave up just 11 points in the entire first half, which gave the offense all sorts of time to shake off its own doldrums. It did so, as key baskets by Leanne Ockenden and Kayla Stroman produced a double-digit halftime lead.
Briefly, J-D would show some life in the second half after the deficit ran to 28-13. With Cohen producing 10 points and Megan Maycumber adding six points, the Rams pulled within nine in the fourth quarter, but that was it.
Ockenden continues to be CBA’s primary offensive force, finishing with 17 points here as Stroman added nine points and Michelle Damico got eight points. Though Sarah Paulus and Jamie Carrick had just seven points between them, their combined defense wreaked total havoc on the Rams and made a substantial difference.
To say that the Brothers and Red Rams had contrasting games leading into their showdown would be a major understatement.
J-D, with all of its injury concerns, had to deal with 6-0 Cortland last Wednesday night, and it turned into a tense contest decided by free throws in the final minute — with the Rams losing to the Purple Tigers 43-42.
The good news was that starting sophomore guard Alyssa Gratien was back in the lineup, despite a knee injury suffered in the team’s loss to Pittsford Mendon on Dec. 15. But Gratien gave up her spot in the starting lineup to Leah Porter.
Aggressive right from the tip-off, Cortland led for much of the first half, dominating on the boards and taking full advantage of J-D’s turnovers and cold shooting from the perimeter. The Rams trailed by as much as seven and needed its own strong defense to keep the Purple Tigers close, 19-14, at the break.
At one point midway through the third period, J-D’s deficit grew to nine, 31-22 – but it started to fight back when sophomore reserve Nicole Ortega dropped a pair of outside shots and Gratien announced her return with a 3-pointer of her own.
The real comeback came in the fourth quarter, as Cohen hit on six consecutive points and short jumpers by \Maycumber and Jessica Kramer gave J-D its first lead of the night, 38-37, with less than four minutes left.
From there, it seesawed, both sides making big defensive stops. When Maycumber hit another lay-up with 1:18 left, J-D led 42-39, and with Cohen’s well-known free-throw shooting prowess, the lead looked secure.
After Cortland’s top player, Shannon Finucane, hit on a driving lay-up with 33 seconds left to make it 42-41, the Purple Tigers fouled Cohen. Faced with a one-and-one situation, Cohen saw the front end slide off the rim, and the Purple Tigers rebounded.
Again with the ball in her hands, Finucane drew a foul with 15.6 seconds to play. Unlike Cohen, Fincuane sank her free throws, inching Cortland in front.
Still with a chance to win, J-D put the ball in Cohen’s hands. Seeing her lane to the basket blocked, she drove to the right corner, where a desperate shot fell short at the buzzer. J-D wanted a foul — but none was called.
Cohen finished with 17 points, but did not hit a single 3-pointer and got 11 of those points at the foul line.
CBA, the night before, had pummeled East Syracuse-Minoa the night before, holding the Spartans to a single field goal in the first half of a 54-18 rout.
By herself, Ockenden, with 19 points, outscored ESM as she poured in four 3-pointers. Alex Bersani had eight points, with Stroman adding seven points.
As CBA rested until a Jan. 4 game against Chittenango, J-D took the same trip to White Plains that the boys team did and will play in the Westchester Parks Tournament on Friday and Saturday.
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