Jan 07, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
To be sure, the large throngs that gathered Friday night at Jamesville-DeWitt for the latest chapter in the boys basketball rivalry between the Red Rams and its neighbors from Christian Brothers Academy expected standout performances from talented individuals on both rosters.
What few expected, though, was the way Pete Drescher stole the spotlight from bigger names like DaJuan Coleman, Tyler Cavanaugh, Shakir Evans and Greg Thomson, as Drescher’s 15 second-half points – plus standout defense – keyed the Red Rams’ 59-46 victory over the Brothers.
Earlier in the evening, CBA did prevail on the girls side against J-D, building a 15-point lead at one point in the second half before fending off a furious J-D comeback to prevail 47-40.
Regarding the boys match-up, a few questions overshadowed all others. Which style would prevail – J-D, with its speed and massive inside presence? Or CBA, with deadly outside shooting? Also, which side would get the tempo that it wanted?
The second question got answered first. CBA was quite content to run as much of the 35-second shot clock as possible to keep J-D from speeding things up, and it had the Rams flustered in the opening minutes as it sprinted out to an 11-2 lead.
Early in the second quarter, the Rams still trailed 18-12, so head coach Bob McKenney switched out of the 2-3 zone he used in the early going, and the Rams set new screens, directly the Brothers’ guards. As a result, CBA’s outside shots started to veer off target.
“We played one of our best defensive games,” said McKenney. “Switching the screens helped us pick up the tempo.”
Meanwhile, Coleman notched three straight baskets late in the half, pushing J-D to a 23-18 lead, only to see the Brothers answer and edge back in front, 25-24, by halftime. Given the scoring pace and its tendency to get hot from the outside at any time, CBA had to feel good about its chances.
But after Rob Cumo hit a running basket early in the third quarter, the Brothers went more than seven minutes without a single point. Every shot, inside and outside, rolled off the rim as CBA’s patient approach backfired.
J-D didn’t take full advantage at first, though, going through its own third-period slump. Then Drescher, the Rams’ 6-2 guard, converted a three-point play late in the quarter, and proceeded to play the best basketball of his varsity career.
As part of a 14-0 run that stretched deep into the fourth quarter, Drescher had nine points, draining a 3-pointer and getting a basket and free throw on consecutive possessions that extended the Rams ‘ lead to 39-27, and it never got caught again. Drescher added six more points in the late going, giving him 18 points for the night, before leaving to a standing ovation with two minutes left.
“When the tempo changed, that helped me get to the hoop,” said Drescher. “We ran our sets, and it worked.”
“Pete is starting to realize that he can be really good,” said McKenney, who added that the absence of Demetrius Mitchell in the lineup has forced other guards – like Drescher – to step up.
Despite some uneven moments, Coleman and Cavanugh each finished with 14 points in support of Drescher’s star turn. Evans was the only CBA player to reach double figures, leading his side with 17 points as Thomson had just four points.
All this followed a girls game between the Brothers and Red Rams that, for a time in the second half, was spiraling toward a rout before J-D surge in the closing minutes.
Held without a point for more than seven minutes in the first half, J-D remained close by playing strong team defense and only trailed by five, 17-12, at halftime, as CBA struggled with its own bouts of inconsistency.
Late in the third quarter, though, the Brothers took off on an 11-1 run, led by Marisa Romeo, who would produce a game-high 20 points. Flustered, J-D didn’t regain its composure until the final period, when it stared at a 38-23 deificit.
It was still 41-29 when, with less than 3:30 to play, J-D reeled off nine consecutive points, capped by Kayleigh Cavanaugh’s free throw with 40.6 seconds left that cut the margin to 41-38.
Overall, Cavanaugh would finish with 17 points – but the Rams would not get any closer, as Michelle Wiese hit both ends of a one-and-one with 39.5 seconds to play, with Ellen Voorheis and Kelsey Johnson also hitting foul shots in the waning seconds. Voorheis finished with 10 points as, for J-D, Caitlin Cariseo got eight points and Kara Capstraw added seven points.