Dec 20, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For nearly a week, the Bishop Grimes boys basketball team sat and waited to get a shot at action again after a last-second defeat to Phoenix on Dec. 13.
When the Cobras returned Wednesday night, it was at Syracuse Academy of Science, where it handed the Atoms its first loss of the season, prevailing by a score of 66-61.
In a year of heavy transition in the OHSL Liberty division, SAS was another league newcomer. But the Atoms, who reached the state Class C final in 2011, had already proved itself a sturdy opponent with a 4-0 start that included narrow home wins over Skaneateles and Westhill.
As such, Grimes knew how tough it would be inside SAS’s home gym, nicknamed “The Lab”, and for 32 minutes it lived up to that exact billing, sometimes in a literal way.
SAS fought its way to a 17-12 lead late in the first quarter, setting a brisk pace and often going inside to its star center, Ramo Ozkan, who proved himself an equal to Grimes’ star center, Jon Carnegie.
But the Cobras used a 9-0 run that stretched into the second period to regain control, and never trailed again, though SAS would tie it twice before Grimes grabbed a 33-29 edge at the half.
For the entire second half, the Cobras would protect a single-digit lead, never getting further ahead than nine points, 46-37, late in the third quarter. But that cushion vanished when SAS scored eight straight points, moving within one, 46-45, early in the final period.
Further hurting Grimes’ chances was seeing Casey Evans go to the bench after breaking his nose on a scramble for a loose ball. But he only missed three minutes of game time, and then returned for the final stretch.
With less than three minutes left, Grimes led 56-55, but put the game away with a 10-2 run, two baskets apiece from Connor Evans and Tom Steinberg, who benefited from the attention given to the Cobras’ main threats.
In fact, Grimes had near-perfect offensive balance. Of Connor Evans’ 15 points, nine of them came in the fourth quarter, with Carnegie also finishing with 15 points. Steinberg managed 14 points and Casey Evans, despite his injury, still had 13 points.
All game long, Ozkan had his way inside, and he led the Atoms with 24 points. Chimaka Browne, whose last-second basket beat Westhill on Dec. 14, had 14 points, while Agim Hamiti managed 11 points.
A night earlier, Bishop Grimes’ girls team hosted Bishop Ludden in a wild, foul-filled affair that the Cobras, through clutch performances by Tina Hoag and Megan Driscoll, pulled out over the Gaelic Knights 56-52.
Everything looked bad for Grimes in the first quarter. Not only did three of the Cobras’ starters pick up two fouls, head coach John Cifonelli’s protests led to two technical fouls and an ejection.
Somehow, the Cobras survived all this and only trailed 14-10 after one period. Then, with extensive use of its bench, Grimes survived the game’s middle stages, getting particular help from reserve guard Teresa Shattuck as it held Ludden to one field goal in the third quarter.
Entering the fourth quarter, it was tied, 36-36. Having sat for so long, Hoag and Driscoll avoided major foul trouble and, in those last eight minutes, hit a trio of 3-pointers between them to put Grimes in front.
As Ludden tried to rally, the Cobras held on through making all six of its free throws in the last two minutes. Not until Jordan Vaught sank the last of those foul shots with seven seconds left could Grimes break clear.
Hoag, with 13 points, and Driscoll, with 12 points, both set season marks, while Shattuck finished with eight points and Alex Guhin added seven ponts. All nine Grimes players that saw action got at least two points. Ludden’s Kelly Granteed led both sides with 15 points, including three 3-pointers.