Feb 13, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
On a single Tuesday night, four different Syracuse city high school basketball teams moved ahead in the opening round of the Section III playoffs — two of them expected, the other two not so much.
Fowler, in Class A, continued its late-season surge by beating Oneida 70-50. Nottingham defended its home court in Class AA, beating Oswego 68-50, while Corcoran ignored its 5-15 record and stunned Cicero-North Syracuse 51-48.
And in its first-ever sectional playoff appearance, Syracuse Academy of Science went to McGraw and recorded a 69-50 victory over McGraw in the Class D-1 opening round.
Even though it only had a regular-season mark of 3-14, SAS, in its second season at the varsity level, decided to participate in the playoffs — something allowed because the tournament has an open format where anyone can play if it wants to.
As it turned out, SAS’s schedule (playing Class C teams in the OHSL Patriot division) gave it just the right amount of seasoning for the playoffs — something it would show against McGraw, the no. 10 seed in the Class D-1 bracket.
Down 14-11 after one period, SAS took over in the game’s middle stages, outscoring the Eagles 44-24 in the second and third periods to go ahead for good.
Synike White led SAS with 24 points, while three of his teammates — Josh Goins, Kadeem Johnson and Lavell Ellick — earned 10 points apiece. SAS will travel to face no. 2 seed Oriskany (14-6) in Friday night’s D-1 semifinals.
Corcoran’s success at CNS was just as big of a surprise. The Cougars had only gone 5-15 in the regular season, far off their normal standards, and had lost to the Northstars back on Jan. 11.
All of that didn’t matter in the playoffs, though, as Corcoran pulled in front by outscoring CNS 18-11 in the second period.
Up 28-22 at the break, the Cougars watched the Northstars make up most of that margin in the third period, then matched baskets and played strong defense down the stretch to hold on to that slim margin.
Desmond Drake, with 13 points, led a balanced Corcoran attack where Kenny Jamison got 12 points, Mike Stenson earned nine points and Martino Barletta earned eight points. Laquan James (17 points) and Mike McCarthy (15 points) accounted for most of the CNS attack.
Corcoran’s reward for this victory is a Friday Class AA quarterfinal against city rival Henninger. Due to its no. 2 seed and 18-2 regular-season mark, the Black Knights had a first-round bye.
Nottingham, the no. 6 seed could meet either Corcoran or Henninger in the semifinals, if the Bulldogs get that far. First, it had to get past no. 11 seed Oswego.
Strong on defense in the early going, the Bulldogs (11-9) held the Buccaneers to just 18 points in the first half, then picked up the tempo in the third quarter to build the margin to 51-34, out of Oswego’s reach.
Tyshon Goode continued his late-season tear, pouring in 27 points to lead all scorers. Jawan Simmons had 10 points, while Devorn Kinsey gained nine points. Anthony Johnson and Deanzel Crouch had six points apiece.
Nottingham will make the short jaunt down the road to face no. 3 seed Christian Brothers Academy Friday night in the AA quarterfinals. The Brothers (even without star senior Marcus Sales) ripped Rome Free Academy 78-40 in the opening round.
Fowler, the no. 5 seed in Class A, arrived in the playoffs on a serious roll, having claimed seven win in a row, including a huge 65-53 decision over Bishop Ludden on the Saturday before the playoffs started.
Against no. 12 seed Oneida, the Falcons kept flying. A back-and-forth first half saw Fowler go up 16-7, only to have the Indians rally and force a 25-25 halftime tie.
But the Falcons put Oneida away in the third period, outscoring them 28-14. Quashawn Blunt led the way, with 16 points, as Chris Gilkes earned 14 points. Elonzo Wilson added 10 points as Ned McNeil and Ron Monroe gained nine points apiece.
This leads Fowler to a rematch with Bishop Ludden, the no. 4 seed, Friday night in the Class A quarterfinals, just six days after the previous meeting — only this time, the game will be on Ludden’s home court in Geddes. The Gaelic Knights had a tough time in the opening round, but scraped past Mexico 54-47.