January 6, 2014
Purple Tigers handle adversity, Bears
With three starters unavailable and trailing to winless Chittenango 27-25 at halftime Saturday evening, the host Cortland High boys’ basketball team rallied in the second half for a 59-52 win to improve to 3-1 in the OHSL Freedom National Division and 6-2 overall.
Purple Tigers junior forward Quinn Kennedy had 11 of his game-high 19 points —to go with 13 rebounds and four steals — in the third quarter as CHS out-scored the Bears 17-13 to take a 42-40 lead into the final eight minutes.
A 17-12 Cortland advantage over that stretch accounted for the final score, though Chittenango (now 0-4 league and 0-7 overall) was able to get to within 52-51 with less than two minutes left before the hosts scored seven of the game’s last eight points at Shafer Gymnasium.
Senior guard Zach Whelan had 16 points and four assists and senior forward Teddy Phillips 10 points and six assists for the Purple Tigers, who got seven rebounds from junior guard Sage Brown and six from Phillips as each team collected 36 boards.
“Quinn had a solid performance, his second double-double of the season, including the steals and a deflection,” CHS coach Jeremy Milligan said. “Quinn is a very capable shooter and tonight he got hot at the right time for us.
“Teddy had another solid performance as well, doing whatever he can to help the team be successful. He has a knack of cutting into seams in the zone and then using good ball fakes to get his defender off his feat, or finding open teammates. I was pleased that Zach had as many assists as he did made 3-pointers.”
Senior Jordan Sass had 13 points for the visitors, complemented by his classmates Dan Filsinger and Connor Delaney with 10 each.
Cortland was without the services of senior point guard Eamonn Mahar, senior guard Qadir Artis and senior forward Daquan Pittman in the contest.
“Missing those players had a major impact,” Milligan said. “Chittenango played an active 3-2 zone the entire game. We played man-to-man along with some half-court press in the first half.
“In the second half we made a tempo adjustment and played full court man-to-man to speed up the pace of the game and disrupt the momentum of their guards; 14 of their 22 turnovers came in the second half. This suggestion came at halftime from assistant coaches Tom Neugebauer and Francis Loiacono.”
A difference-maker in the game, Milligan noted, was the fact that his team hit seven 3-pointers to Chittenango’s one. “I give the Chittenango players and coach (John) Clancy much credit. They executed a solid game plan and kept it close throughout the game. Down the stretch, they had some great opportunities and executed their man-to-man sets well, only to have some unlucky bounces off or through the hands of players in scoring position.
“Chittenango is a much better team than their record suggests. They took us out of our transition game and caused 19 turnovers with an active zone.”
CORTLAND JVs improved to 3-1 in the league and 7-1 overall with a 79-31 romp over Chittenango as sophomore guard Kersean Perry led the way with 16 points, sophomore forward Brandon Sweet added 13 and sophomore guard-forward Bronson Gagliano had 12.
The Purple Tigers led 18-6 after one quarter and used a 25-12 second-quarter advantage to take a 43-18 lead into halftime and seal the verdict. Nathan Falkenburg scored eight points and David Demand seven for the Bears.
The Cortland JVs visit Corcoran Monday in a 5:30 p.m. non-league start, and on Tuesday both Purple Tiger squads host Fowler in league action, the JV game again starting at 5:30 p.m.
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