Aug 07, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Normally rivals, Cicero-North Syracuse’s Connor Evans and Liverpool’s Tyler Sullivan were working together during the first weekend in August, helping the Central Region team to a second-place finish in the Summer Hoops Festival at Johnson City, near Binghamton.
When the Empire State Games faded into history (it was last held in 2010 in Buffalo), members of the Basketball Coaches Association of New York did not want to leave a void in statewide summer competition.
Thus, the Summer Hoops Festival was born, and from Aug. 1-3 many of the top basketball players in the state, representing nine different regional teams, made their way to Johnson City, near Binghamton, to vie for BACNY bragging rights.
Evans and Sullivan were part of a Central squad that featured, at the top of its roster, Westhill’s Jordan Evans, who had announced a couple of weeks ago his verbal commitment to George Washington University in the fall of 2015.
Beginning play on Aug. 1, Central lost to Hudson Valley 74-62, but would rebound with a pair of impressive victories a day later, smashing Nassau County (Long Island) 104-39 as Walser scored 17 points and Roland added 15 points.
With a win over Rochester, Central finished 2-1 in pool play and moved into the semifinals on Aug. 3, where it faced the other Long Island team, from Suffolk County, and overcame a double-digit deficit to win 87-78.
Trailing by 11 at the break, Central again turned to Roland, who picked up 35 points to lead the Central comeback, setting up a championship-game rematch with Hudson Valley that started immediately after the Suffolk game.
It was a quick turnaround, and as it turned out, the semifinal took a lot of energy out of Central. Just as it had done two days earlier, Hudson Valley prevailed again, this time 103-63, to take home the Summer Hoops Festival title.
At the outset of the girls edition of the Summer Hoops Festival, two players who helped C-NS reach the state Class AA finals a year ago – forward Emilee Norris and guard McKayla Roberts – were set to play.
But injuries kept Norris out of the tournament, and far worse, one of Central’s other top players, Nottingham’s Chayanna Canada, tore an ACL, which could keep her out the entire 2014-15 school year for the Bulldogs.
Without Norris or Canada, Central fell to Hudson Valley 76-35 in the Aug. 1 opener. In both of the team’s games on Aug. 2, Central played better, with Roberts netting 14 points in a 71-67 loss to Nassau County and the squad suffering another close defeat to Rochester, 53-49.
This improvement finally led to a victory in the tournament finale Aug. 3, Central turning back Southern Tier 61-44 as Central Square’d Schuyler Laux put up a team-high 12 points. Still, it was Roberts that earned Central’s lone berth on the Summer Hoops Festival All-Tournament team.
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