Dec 31, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
As originally planned, the 2012 edition of Christian Brothers Academy’s boys basketball Bottar-Leone Holiday Classic was a chance for three local powers to gather together for a series of unique contests unavailable at other times in the regular season.
But the way things worked out, it evolved into a showcase for one of those teams, Fayetteville-Manlius, who in the course of 24 hours reinforced its status as a major Class AA title contender and showed the others, Jamesville-DeWitt and CBA, how far they still had to go.
In Saturday night’s tournament opener, the Hornets met the Red Rams, their second meeting in as many weeks. This one was far less lopsided, but had the same outcome – F-M clearly on top over J-D by an 81-54 margin.
Back on Dec. 22, it was a one-sided affair that saw the Hornets play its best defense of the season on the way to pummeling the Rams 68-27. J-D managed only three points in the first quarter, and F-M kept pulling further away, eventually gaining a 28-12 lead by halftime.
It only got more lopsided in the second half as F-M’s attack grew more diverse. Twelve different Hornets scored and 11 of them notched field goals, with John Schurman leading the way as he got 16 points and eight rebounds.
The rematch at CBA nearly went in the other direction, partly due to lineup changes as Jeff Edwards returned for J-D from a foot injury that sidelined him for most of December and F-M’s star forward, T.J. Wheatley, missed the game.
For most of the first half, J-D kept up with F-M, and it was 36-32 as the clock wound down. But the Hornets’ Parker Harris drained a 3-pointer just before halftime, nearly doubling F-M’s margin.
Sparked by that basket, the Hornets drubbed J-D with 32 third-quarter points to get clear. Again, Schurman led the way, sinking seven 3-pointers on his way to 25 points, to go with five steals and five rebounds.
Tomer Nesher stepped up, too, the senior earning 24 points, while sophomore point guard Jake Wittig had a season-best 15 points to go with 11 assists. J-D, in defeat, got 14 points from Jafar Kinsey and 10 points from Mike Mulvihill.
After all this, CBA lost its tournament opener to Thurgood Marshall (New York City) 61-52, a game where the middle stages proved critical.
Up by a slim 13-12 margin after one period, the Brothers saw Marshall outscore them 23-19 in a wild second quarter to move in front. CBA’s hopes of catching up took a hit when it only managed eight points in the third quarter.
Billy Burns led the Brothers with 13 points, while Charlie Russo and Will Brower each had 11 points. Alex Brunner added six points.
Sunday’s second-day action would climax with F-M taking on CBA. And after struggling for long portions of the game, the Hornets picked just the right time to unleash a devastating run as, led by Wittig, it beat the Brothers 69-55.
Through a closely played first half, CBA kept finding open spots within F-M’s vaunted 1-3-1 defense, whether it was outside shots from Russo or inside looks from Brower. As a result, the Brothers grabbed the lead in the second quarter and took a 30-27 edge to the break.
Russo threatened to take over in the third quarter, scoring 11 of his game-high 25 points in that period. When another Russo 3-pointer found the net late in the period, CBA was up 43-38.
Seconds later, the Brothers protested an F-M block that it thought was goaltending. Perhaps that rattled CBA, for F-M scored the last seven points of the period, grabbing a 45-43 lead.
That was just the start, though, of a 25-5 outburst. Wittig, whose baskets had kept F-M close, drew in the defenders, and then flung it to Schurman and Nesher, who combined for 15 of those 25 points on their way to finishing with 17 points apiece.
Wittig, too, had 17 points, 14 of them in the second half. He, along with his F-M teammates, picked up the defensive intensity, too, forcing CBA into a series of bad shots and turnovers from which it could not recover.
Earlier that night, J-D had broken out of its doldrums by beating Marshall 63-47, and it was Kinsey that was largely responsible for it.
A close game turned in the Red Rams’ favor when it finished the first half on a 10-3 run. When Marshall tried to rally in the third period, Kinsey hit on back-to-back 3-pointers, stretching out the lead to 45-29, and J-D never got caught.
Kinsey finished with 28 points, nearly half his team’s output, getting some help from DeRegis, who finished with 13 points.