Dec 14, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A pair of willing challengers wanted to take the measure of the Fayetteville-Manlius boys basketball team in its first full week of league action. Neither would prove successful.
That included Liverpool, who came to the “Hornets Nest” last Friday night confident from a 3-0 start – but left with its first blemish of the season, F-M having to work to the final buzzer to earn a 67-62 victory.
This was a big contest, made so not just by F-M’s quality, but the way Liverpool had started, winning a pair of games in Niagara Falls on Dec. 6-7 before going to Cicero-North Syracuse and, with five players scoring in double figures, knocking off the Northstars 77-63.
Fire alarms, set off by burning popcorn at the concession stand just outside the F-M gym, caused a brief delay to the start of F-M’s home opener, but it didn’t stop either team from bringing an all-out effort once the game tipped off.
Throughout the first half, anything the Hornets did, the Warriors would match. That led to a series of mini-runs, but nothing that was sustained, so it was only fitting that F-M and Liverpool went to the break tied, 33-33.
With Liverpool’s defense bent on stopping John Schurman, other F-M players got open looks, including Louis Avellino and Mike Hoalcraft, who would combine for eight 3-pointers as the Hornets inched out in front in the third quarter.
Then Avellino hit consecutive 3s early in the final period to give F-M a double-digit margin, 55-45, but again Liverpool fought back, the comeback led by Brandon Derouchie, who hit four 3-pointers on the night and had 18 points overall.
Tyler Sullivan’s own 3-pointer with 1:30 left cut the Hornets’ lead to 62-58, but from there, F-M stayed cool, making six of eight free throws in the homestretch to hang on.
Avellino led with 18 points, most of it from five 3-pointers. Hoalcraft had a season-best 14 points as Schurman, held to a season-low 13 points, still had a double-double, earning 12 rebounds. Point guard Jake Wittig augmented his 11 points with 11 assists, three rebounds and three steals.
All of this followed F-M’s latest dazzling effort at West Genesee last Tuesday night, where Schurman and his teammates again unloaded on the Wildcats in the course of a 76-42 romp.
If that looked familiar to WG fans, it was, for F-M did much the same thing last season in Camillus, drilling a series of 3-pointers in the early going to take the Wildcats out of it before it could get settled.
Off a Dec. 6-7 tournament win in Baldwinsville, WG thought that, this time around, it would have a better chance, but Schurman quickly proved otherwise.
Schurman came out firing on all cylinders, recording 18 first-quarter points, leaving WG staring at a 29-7 deficit by the time that period ended. For a brief while, the Wildcats cooled things down, but another barrage of outside shots marked a 23-11 Hornets sprint through the third quarter that put the game out of reach.
The Wildcats, led by Shane Temara (who had nine points), seemed overmatched by F-M’s 1-3-1 half court trapping zone all night. This forced the Wildcats into many turnovers, including one that led to a runout and electrifying two-handed dunk by Schurman.
Hitting on six 3-pointers, Schurman finished with 32 points, and that was despite sitting out most of the fourth quarter. But he also got a lot of help from his teammates.
Wittig controlled the game all night on his way to eight points, 10 assists, and four steals. Avellino managed 11 points, as he, Wittig and Sean Brown (10 points) each made a pair of 3-pointers. Hoalcraft, Alex Leuze and John Stone also hit 3-pointers by the time it was done, giving the Hornets 15 of them for the night.
After getting past Liverpool, it’s back to the road for F-M, making two trips to the city next week to take on Nottingham Tuesday and Corcoran Friday before its appearance at the Stop DWI Tournament in Binghamton on Dec. 28-29.
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