Dec 23, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
All of Bishop Grimes’ basketball fans left the home gym in East Syracuse happy on Thursday night, glad that their teams are still unbeaten – but not without fraying some nerves along the way.
First, it was the girls Cobras put to a grinding test from Cazenovia, needing to lean on its defense to fight to a 37-30 victory. Then the boys Lakers gave Grimes its most difficult test so far, but again the hosts held on, prevailing by a 59-54 margin.
Cazenovia, winner of two of the last three Section III Class B girls titles, had struggled to a 1-5 start against a brutal opening slate, but it still had high defensive capability, something Grimes would find out.
Other than Erannan Shattuck’s seven points and Tina Hoag’s trio of 3-pointers, the Cobras had trouble generating any kind of offense in the first half and clung to a 22-20 lead as they went to the break. As in the game at Hannibal on Dec. 16, Amelia Heiselman had difficulty generating any open space against the Lakers’ swarming defense.
To counter, Grimes increased its own pressure – and it worked. Cazenovia only managed three points in the third quarter, and Heiselman hit two key baskets, one at the end of the period, the other a 3-pointer (her 29th of the season) at the start of the fourth quarter to make it 32-23.
The Lakers never got real close again, as Shattuck backed up her team-high 11 points with eight rebounds. Hoag (nine points, five rebounds) and Heiselman (seven points, seven rebounds) also did well inside, while Jordan Vaught managed five points and three steals.
Unlike their female counterparts, the Cazenovia boys team was off to a strong start at 5-1, the lone blemish a 60-42 defeat to Bishop Ludden on Dec. 16. And it would make sure that Grimes would not get away too easily.
When the Cobras seized an 18-13 first-quarter edge, it appeared the fast tempo that had produced a 5-0 start and no. 7 state Class B ranking would remain intact.
Except that the runaway never happened. Cazenovia turned it into a midcourt battle and, over the next two periods, played on even terms with the Cobras. This forced Grimes into playing a tight game in the homestretch for the first time, but it managed to fend off all of the Lakers’ advances.
Casey Evans, with 15 points and seven assists, was one of four Cobras to score in double figures. Jon Carnegie had 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Gai Ater also managed 14 points and Steve Lembo added 10 points.
Cazenovia’s Kevin Hopsicker hit four 3-pointers to account for most of his 16 points as Tanner Whiteman (15 points) and Oliver Gates (12 points) offered ample support.
Now Grimes looks forward to a major challenge when it plays in Christian Brothers Academy’s Bottar-Leone Holiday Classic. The Cobras play Buffalo-area power St. Joseph’s in Thursday night’s opening round, while CBA plays Nazareth (New York City), with the consolation and championship games Friday night.
At the same times, the girls host the Bishop Grimes Holiday Tournament, meeting Solvay in the first round at 7:45 Thursday after Watertown IHC plays Rochester Mercy at 6:15.
JV games precede the varsity contests, with the same schedule to follow on Friday. All proceeds will benefit the “More Than A Game” Foundation and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.