Opening week for area high school boys basketball teams would culminate with Fayeteville-Manlius and Christian Brothers Academy going head-to-head last Saturday in the Peppino’s Invitational at Onondaga Community College.
It was the debut for new Hornets head coach Luke Tucci, but it was something familiar that helped F-M fight its way to a 48-45 victory over the Brothers.
Defensively, the Hornets used the same 1-3-1 look that former coach Tom Blackford made so famous, and it held CBA to four points in the first quarter.
Having gone out in front there, F-M nursed its lead throughout the afternoon, unable to add much to it and seeing the Brothers inch closer as the clock ran down.
Aaron Clendenin’s basket cut the Hornets’ lead to 47-45 with 31.4 seconds left. Ethan Page’s free throw extended the margin to three, and a 3-point attempt by CBA to get even in the final seconds went off target.
Zach Page led F-M with 12 points and, with Kieran Miller, stood out on the defensive end, too, as Ethan Page and Josh Michael got seven points apiece and Charlie Gadsden had six points. Clendenin and Dan Anderson paced the Brothers with 10 points apiece as Nick Valenti got nine points and Ryan Mackenzie had eight points.
CBA had already lost 62-52 to West Genesee, an early lead vanishing when the Wildcats outscored them 20-10 in the second quarter.
Led by Clendenin (19 points) and Mackenzie (14 points), the Brothers got back within two, 51-49, midway through the fourth quarter, only to go cold as the Wildcats used a 9-0 run to decide it. Will Amica led WG with 20 points.
Also at the Peppino’s Invitational, Jamesville-DeWitt opened against Auburn, and unveiled a multi-pronged attack that the Maroons found impossible to contain as the Red Rams pulled away to win 79-54.
Never trailing, J-D pushed the tempo from the outset and unleashed a barrage of outside shots. Teleak Robinson took over early, scoring all of his 17 points in the first half as the Rams built a 36-16 edge.
And when Auburn threatened to get close in the third quarter, Max Schulman closed the period with eight straight points. Ultimately, Schulman had 20 of his 26 points after intermission as Preston Shumpert got 14 points and Payton Shumpert had 13 points.
J-D followed up Saturday with an impressive 66-50 victory over Rochester Aquinas, using a 25-11 push through the second quarter to take control and then closing on an 18-8 run after the Irish threatened to come back.
Robinson’s 21 points included four 3-pointers, while Payton Shumpert got 16 points and Preston Shumpert 11 points as Schulman, with 10 points, also hit doublef giures.
East Syracuse Minoa already had three games on its ledger by the time it went to OCC to face PSLA/Fowler last Friday night, and the Spartans, aided by quick starts to each half, defeated the Falcons 58-43.
The Spartans were 2-1 going into that game, having swept Utica Proctor (on Nov. 21) and New Hartford (on Nov. 23) before a 61-53 loss to Carthage last Tuesday night.
This was the Comets’ chance to avenge its Section III Class A first-round playoff defeat to the Spartans, and it did so with a strong closing push, outscoring ESM 17-10 in the fourth quarter of an otherwise tight contest.
Nick Peterson poured in 20 points, while Devin Mascato-Buffaloe added 14 points. No other ESM player had more than five points, though as Carthage’s Jaden Kennedy got 29 points, mostly from six 3-pointers.
Rebounding against PSLA-Fowler, the Spartans notched the game’s first seven points, but didn’t start to feel comfortable until Dennis Benjack hit on a trio of 3-pointers late in the second quarter that produced a 28-20 halftime lead.
Sparked by that surge, ESM then netted the first 10 points of the third quarter, and nursed a double-digit margin the rest of the way, Peterson working his way to 20 points and Mescato-Buffaloe adding 10 points. Jack Shields came off the bench to earn seven points, matching James Ferns’ total.
Bishop Grimes took on Baldwinsville Friday night at SRC Arena and found out that the Bees had every reason to think itself a Class AA title contender as it beat the Cobras 64-57.
Sparked by seven early points from Jake Marshall, the Bees roared out in front 19-9 by the end of the first quarter, a needed cushion because Grimes fought back during the second period.
Were it not for the constant production of Cam Weatherly, who had 13 of his 18 points in the first half, the Bees might have got into trouble. Instead, it carried a 30-26 lead to the break.
Then freshman J.J. Starling took over. Just a freshman, Starling broke out in the third quarter with 12 points, half of his eventual game-high total of 24 points.
Again, Grimes tried to come back, seeing T.J. Bradford gain 20 points and Nate Gay add 13 points. Helping them, David Mo had seven points and Naiche Cook finished with six points.