What was, at first, just a busy week in area high school boys basketball turned quite memorable for several reasons.
There was Marcellus enjoying an electric moment last Monday at the end of the JV game against Cato-Meridian when a special-needs student, sank a 3-point shot in the final seconds after a Blue Devils player handed him the ball in a gesture of sportsmanship.
Michael Montgomery was in the game during the final minutes, with the JV Mustangs well out in front. Since Montgomery doesn’t travel to road games, his court time is limited, but he did hit a pair of 3-point shots during games last season.
On this night against Cato-Meridian, Montgomery appeared for the first time in 2018-19. As the final minutes ticked away, Montgomery tried several shots and missed.
Then, in the waning seconds, the Blue Devils’ Mason Crandall, instead of dribbling up the court, handed it to Montgomery to take one more shot – and it swished, drawing loud cheers and a standing ovation from players and fans alike.
All of this made the varsity game a bit of a footnote, but Marcellus took care of it, holding Cato-Meridian to four points in the first quarter and defeating the Blue Devils 62-39.
Matt Kershaw, scoring 13 points, led a well-balanced Marcellus attack. Tristan Jarvi had 12 points, with Jared Sammon getting 11 points as Liam Tierney and Connor Rogalia had six points apiece.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, on Tuesday Jordan-Elbridge had a golden opportunity to take down 12-0, state Class B no. 12-ranked Skaneateles last Tuesday night, and almost pulled it off before falling to the Lakers 52-51.
When it took a 16-12 lead through one period, it was clear that the Eagles were not going to let Skaneateles have an easy night. And that remained the case even though the Lakers appeared to seize control, eventually building a 44-35 lead through three periods.
J-E spent the entire fourth quarter chipping away at the Lakers’ margin, and helped by missed free throws on the other end, the Eagles, in the final seconds, had a chance at a game-winning shot.
Everyone expected Jeremiah Sparks, who had scored 30 points, to take that shot, but facing a double team he passed it, and the ensuing attempt went off the mark as Skaneateles held on.
Mitch Holt had 10 points and L.J. Barrigar got six points to help Sparks as, for Skaneateles, Jack Canty had a big night, earning 25 points as Nate Fouts added 16 points.
Westhill went to Chittenango last Tuesday in a game far removed from the tense, close sectional Class B final waged last March at the Carrier Dome that the Warriors pulled out.
Here, as then, Westhill won, but the 51-31 result was far from smooth as the Warriors and Bears played to a 17-17 first half tie, both sides unable to make many shots.
Then the Warriors outscored Chittenango 20-7 in the third quarter as it held the Bears’ Paul Wood to two points while its own star, Zach Brown, got 19 points. Dan Washburn, Liam Sanborn and Ryan Gilmartin had six points apiece.
Solvay, who had lost to Skaneateles on Jan. 11, faced more struggles at Mexico last Tuesday night, falling to the Tigers 45-42 as it never recovered from a rough first half.
Mexico’s defense dominated early, and the Bearcats trailed 27-15 at the break. To its credit, Solvay almost caught up in the third quarter, outscoring the Tigers 14-4, yet could not sustain that effort down the stretch.
Will Ruby’s 18 points helped the Tigers hang on as, for the Bearcats, Brock Bagozzi had 14 points, with Justin Scott adding 13 points. Elijah Wright (nine points) and Robby Clark (six points) counted for the rest of Solvay’s offense.
In late-week action, Marcellus prevailed again, 59-50, over Hannibal, keyed by a 16-7 second-quarter push as Grayson Hoag sank a career-best seven 3-pointers, finishing with 24 points. Kyle Brown worked inside for 15 points as Kershaw gained 10 points.
Solvay took another hit in Friday’s 58-54 loss to Chittenango. Led by Paul Wood and Noah Schnauffer, the Bears roared out to a 24-11 edge by the end of the first quarter. Then it maintained that double-digit lead through the game’s middle stages before Solvay charged late.
Scott had 16 points, with Bagozzi adding 14 points and Clark earning 11 points. Still, Chittenango won because Wood and Schnauffer both finished with 21 points, Schnauffer hitting six 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, J-E rolled past Blessed Virgin Mary 71-39, opening on a 17-4 run and then outscoring the Saints 25-6 in the third quarter to get away. Sparks had 23 points, with Tyler Waldron adding 13 points, Alex Pond nine points and Carson Ashby eight points.