Working together, the Jamesville-DeWitt and East Syracuse Minoa boys basketball programs held its second annual “Hoops for Courage” event in the opening days of 2019, supporting Camp Good Days and Special Times.
The culmination of this was last Friday’s key battle between the two neighbors, both primary Class A title contenders, with the Red Rams short-handed, yet still able to stay undefeated as it beat the Spartans 68-54.
These two sides were able to display their neighborhood spirit last Wednesday night by holding a joint practice at J-D, with players from both teams working alongside children facing life-threatening diseases.
When it tipped off two nights later, J-D was looking to build upon a nine-game win streak, and had to do so without leading scorer Teleak Robinson in the lineup.
Yet the Rams don’t depend on a single player, as ESM knew. J-D worked its way into a 19-11 lead by the end of the first quarter, and spent the game’s middle stages protecting that margin.
To a large extent, the Spartans got the tempo it wanted as Jack Shields earned 19 points, including three 3-pointers, and Nick Peterson earned 14 points. Devin Mascato-Buffaloe had nine points and Dennis Benjack had six points.
Despite all this, J-D again closed strong, outscoring ESM 21-14 in the fourth quarter as Payton Shumpert worked his way to 24 points and Max Schulman hit four 3-pointers to account for most of his 19 points. Matt Cieplicki and Preston Shumpert had eight points apiece as Pat Murad contributed six points.
All of this made J-D’s first defeat of the season a bit easier to take.
Still without Robinson in the lineup, the Rams faced Whitesboro Saturday and lost, 62-53, to the Warriors, who proved that its rise to the top of the Tri-Valley League was far from a fluke.
At 8-1 entering the game, Whitesboro held J-D to eight points in the first quarter. The Rams recovered enough to keep pace, yet found itself unable to grab the lead, and the Warriors closed the game by outscoring the Rams 25-19 in the fourth quarter
Collin McAndrew and Tom Morreale led Whitesboro with 18 points apiece, Avery Cook adding 14 points and Zach Britt getting 12 points. Cieplicki paced J-D with 14 points, while Schulman had 11 points and Preston Shumpert 13 points. Payton Shumpert got eight points.
Just as J-D was beating ESM, Manlius-Pebble Hill made its return from a two-week hiatus, hosting Fabius-Pompey and, mostly on the strength of a second-quarter outburst, defeating the Falcons 70-59.
After both teams started slow, the Trojans doubled up F-P in that second period, outscoring them 24-12 to take a 32-19 advantage. That was enough to withstand all of the Falcons’ late charges.
Mostly it was a two-man show for MPH as Kendale Thompson hit seven 3-pointers on his way to 32 points and Grant Lewis stepped up with 22 points. Alex Abrams added nine points as the Trojans improved to 5-3 overall.
That same night, Fayetteville-Manlius lost to Liverpool 55-45, held to five points in the first quarter and seven points in the third period, droughts it could not overcome despite Davidson’s 13 points as Charlie Gadsen got eight points and Michel seven points.
The Thruway Classic was held Sunday at Christian Brothers Academy. It was a quartet of games between area private-school programs and those from the Buffalo area, with CBA facing St. Joseph’s, Bishop Grimes taking on Bishop Timon/St. Jude, Syracuse Academy of Science playing St. Mary’s and Bishop Ludden up against St. Francis.
After SAS topped St. Mary’s 62-43 and Ludden beat St. Francis 55-52, Grimes took its turn and handled Timon 67-51, the key sequence coming early as the Cobras limited the Tigers to two points in the first quarter while getting to a double-digit lead.
From there, Grimes led the rest of the way, David Mo hitting three 3-pointers on his way to 17 points overall as Gop Arop earned a season-best 15 points. T.J. Bradford finished with 14 points and Nate Gay contributed 13 points.
In the nightcap, CBA lost, 69-62, to St. Joseph’s, both teams starting hot but the Brothers getting left behind when the Marauders outscored them 18-6 in the second quarter.
Down 55-41 with one period left, CBA tried to rally, led by Aaron Clendenin, who got most of his 18 points from four 3-pointers as Dan Dan Anderson earned 16 points, Sam Haas had 11 points and Ryan Mackenzie had nine points.