January 10, 2007


Cortland women still thriving at home


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland freshman Jessica Lang (11) comes down with one of her career high 17 rebounds over Buffalo State’s Damika Moseley (32) last night at Carey Gym. Cortland won 76-57.

Sports Editor

There were a few early concerns, a few anxious first half moments, when this 30-game home court unbeaten streak SUNY Cortland women are riding seemed to be in jeopardy.
That was before a 45-point second half scoring spree enabled the Red Dragons to pull away for a convincing 76-57 Corey Gymnasium basketball victory over Buffalo State Tuesday night.
That was before all five Red Dragon starters scored in double figures, with freshman forward Jessica Laing leading the way with 18 points and career best 17 rebounds.
“We weren’t playing our game in the first half,” said Laing, the Red Dragons with just a 31-27 lead at the break. “They came down and scored on every possession in that first half, so we had to pick it up defensively.”
Cortland did just that to secure a 10th straight victory following a season-opening setback. The first place Red Dragons are off to a 3-0 SUNY Athletic Conference start with this first league test of the second semester.
“I’m happy with the way we pulled away in the second half,” said Cortland coach Jeannette Yeoman. “We just have to do things earlier and be more physical against some of these teams. I think we’re headed it the right direction.”
Buffalo State did get to celebrate the scoring milestones of senior forwards Jacey Brooks and Damika Moseley.
Brooks had a team high 15 points and scored her 1,000th career point with a left-handed bank shot from the low post midway through the opening half. Moseley, from Liverpool, scored the final seven points for the Bengals — including her 1,000th point making the first of two free throws with 29.2 seconds left. She made the second try, too, to finish off an 11-point outing.
Still, the Bengals (0-3 SUNYAC, 3-8 overall) could not match Cortland’s firepower.
Sophomore forward Ali Canale had 13 points while missing just two of her seven shots from the floor. Classmate and point guard Maggie Byrne matched her career high with eight assists and tossed on 12 points, all on 3-point shots.
Junior forward Sara Cavanaugh and senior guard Kerry Costello were also steady with 10-point outings, the 6-foot Cavanaugh also grabbing six rebounds.
And sophomore Kristin Ciccone came off the bench to score six points, pass out four assists and come up with four rebounds. “She’s played well for us lately and we need that,” said Yeoman of the 5-foot-6 guard, Ciccone to get more playing time with senior Andrea Wilkinson lost for the season after having surgery to mend a knee injury.
CORTLAND SEEMED to get a grasp on matters in the first half when a 15-4 run opened up a 31-25 lead, only to go the final 4:24 without scoring. Four turnovers were part of those late struggles, including throwing the ball out of bounds on a final possession with 3.5 remaining.
Buffalo State was within 31-27 at halftime, Brooks with eight points at the break.
But Cortland would make 18-of-34 second half shots to pull away. Everyone seemed to contribute in spurts, Canale with 11 of her points during the pullaway.
There was the stretch where Cavanaugh made a corner 3-pointer, blocked a Buffalo State shot and fed Ciccone for a lay-up to build a 47-38 lead.
There was the stretch where freshman Emily Martin scored on a drive before Ciccone beat the Buffalo State defensive downcourt for an easy basket that built a 52-43 lead.
There was the decisive 9-1 run that opened up 66-47 breathing room — with all nine points scored by Laing including a three-point play after scoring form the low post.
There were the back-to-back Canale baskets — the first off a perfectly executed pick-and-roll with senior Erin Dabe — and the Laing fast break finish off a Byrne assist that hiked the lead to 72-50 with 2:58 left to play.
“It’s exciting when you are doing so well and being a part of it is just so exciting,” said consistent newcomer Laing. The 5-foot-11 Laing, who was the New York State Class D Player of the Year last season leading South Kortright to a state title, has nine ‘double-double’ performances in her 11 games as a Red Dragon.
Laing was named SUNYAC Player of the Week. She scored 17 points and 13 rebounds in a 71-70 win at Elmira last Friday, and followed that up with nine points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots in a 51-42 win over Keuka this past Saturday at Corey Gym.
CORTLAND IS BACK in action Saturday night at Fredonia, a 6 p.m. start. And the Red Dragons are hoping to get off to a better start.
“We knew what we wanted to do in the first half and we didn’t do it,” said Yeoman, who used a couple of early timeouts trying to get Cortland going against the Bengals.
“We have to make sure we don’t settle for the first shot, settle for the 3-point shot, especially when we have our big guns inside with Jessica (Laing) and Sara (Cavanaugh),” she added.



Late stumble costly to Red Dragon men

Sports Editor

The frustrating quest for that elusive first conference basketball victory continues for SUNY Cortland men.
The Red Dragons were on the verge of knocking off SUNY Athletic Conference visitor Buffalo State Tuesday evening thanks to a gritty second half comeback, before going without a basket over the final 5:45 of play.
That turned a three-point lead into an eventual 68-53 loss to the Bengals at Corey Gymnasium.
“We came out of the locker room and the guys did a good job of making adjustments and doing what we wanted to do, and then we totally collapsed,” said Coach Tom Spanbauer, defending regular season champion Cortland now 0-3 in conference play and 4-8 overall.
The Red Dragons did turn a 10-point halftime deficit into a 51-48 lead when Carson Niehoff scored off a drive at that 5:45 mark. But in less than a minute Buffalo State guard Carlton “Pee Wee” Guiden converted a three-point play throwing up an off-balanced shot in the lane, steady junior guard Kharey  “Bubba” Wood made a couple of free throws after being fouled following a steal and lay-up attempt and forward Charles Hepburn turned another Red Dragon turnover into an uncontested lay-up.
That spurt put the Bengals ahead for good at 55-51.
Though sophomore forward Niehoff finished off a 15-point showing with two free throws with 3:58 remaining to get Cortland within two points, Buffalo State closed the show with 13 unanswered points to turn a battle into a blowout.
Wood was the steadying influence for the Bengals, now 2-1 in SUNYAC play and 7-4 overall. The stocky 5-foot-10 backcourter finished with 17 points, including an 8-for-11 free throw touch. He also handed out six assists, was credited with three steals and got his hands on a game-high 11 rebounds.
“We were in control of the game and we did not execute a couple of fundamental things at a critical part of the game,” said Spanbauer. “For as hard as we played, well still need someone to step up and make a play for us.”
Senior guard Dave Maggiacomo led the Red Dragons with 16 points, though Niehoff was the only other Cortland player in double figures. The Red Dragons shot just 30 percent from the floor, making just 6-of-28 shots in the second half capped by that late cold spell.
THE END OF EACH half ended up hurting the Red Dragons.
After Maggiacomo’s third trey of the opening half, Cortland was even with Buffalo State at 21-21. Over the final seven minutes after that long range connection, the Bengals out-scored Cortland 14-4 thanks to some aggressive full court defensive work that made their hosts play at a faster pace than desired.
That put Buffalo State up 35-25 at halftime, the Bengals shooting 55 percent from the floor and causing a dozen Dragon turnovers.
The start of the second half was a different game, or as second year Buffalo State head coach Fajri Ansari said: “We won the game, but Cortland controlled the tempo. They’re good at doing that.”
Cortland out-scored the Bengals 13-1 over the opening seven minutes of the second stanza. A swished Dave Jutton 3-pointer taking a handoff from Maggiacomo off a set play put Cortland ahead, with point guard Derrick Fish adding a free throw for a 38-36 edge.
“We start thinking too much,” said Ansari of those Bengal troubles to start the second. “We try to figure out what to do instead of just moving the ball.”
Buffalo State finally scored when John Lawal finished off a fast break off a Wood feed. And after Maggiacomo and Wood swapped 3-pointers, a Lawal tip-in on the offensive boards put Buffalo State back in front at 43-41.
That’s when the Red Dragons made six straight free throws, Maggiacomo made four in a row (including two rewarded when Coach Ansari was hit with a technical foul) and Juan Miolan sank a pair for the largest Cortland lead of the game at 47-43.
And when Buffalo State moved back out in front, Wood flipping in the go-ahead basket from close range with 6:30 left to play, a pair of free throws by freshman center Mike Lewis and Niehoff’s basket had Cortland ahead for the final time at 51-48.
“THIS IS THE second semester. We need to be better than we are doing down the stretch,” said Spanbauer.
Cortland did make 15-of-16 foul shots, did out-rebound the Bengals 34-33 despite going with a very small line-up at times. Niehoff had eight rebounds, Lewis seven boards and Jutton six.
But the shooting woes and 18 turnovers were too much to overcome. Cortland also misses the rebounding and defense of senior forward Rod Headley, recovering from a broken nose. The Red Dragons expect Headley to return for Saturday’s 8 p.m. game at Fredonia, the team captain to wear a mask to protect the injury.


Purple Tigers avenge earlier loss to Raiders

Things have definitely changed — for the better — for the Cortland High boys’ basketball team since the OHSL Freedom Division season started in late November.
The Purple Tigers opened league play with a 64-63 overtime loss at Fulton. On Tuesday night the Red Raiders returned the visit and headed back north on the short end of a 57-39 score.
“It was a tough game,” CHS coach Mick Lowie said, his team having improved to 4-3 in the OHSAL Freedom Division and 8-4 overall.
Despite being drained by the flu, senior guard Joel White scored a game-high 21 points to go along with seven rebounds, four steals, four assists and four blocks.
 “The second half made all the difference in the world. We started the first half in a zone, went man-to-man the last minute and got two baskets for a three-point lead (29-26) at halftime when we could have very easily been down,” said Lowie. “Then we went man-to-man the whole second half and limited them to just 13 points, which is strange because when we went man-to-man against them up there they killed us, drove by us all night long. Maybe they weren’t expecting it again, and we did have a lot of help on the man-to-man.
“We did a much better job of stopping their dribble penetration in the second half and a much better job of stopping their shots up high with blocks, rather than putting them at the line. We played smarter defensively in the second half, as well.”
The third quarter actually decided the game, the hosts going on a 17-6 run that made it 46-32 entering the final eight minutes. Tom Wilk, saddled by foul trouble in the first quarter and forced to sit out much of the first half, led the way with five points in the third while Levi Walrath had four of his 12 points, coming back from an elbow to the eye in the first quarter that forced him to the bench for most of the opening half.
“They had us confused offensively in the first half,” Lowie said of Fulton, now 4-3 league and 7-5 overall. “They played a sagging man-to-man to take away the pick-and-roll up high, a box-and-one on White and a sagging 2-3 zone. They went mostly with zone in the second half, and Tom came back in and was strong inside and rebounded better the second half, Levi had a couple of big baskets and overall we shot better and got a little lead, which made things easier.”
Wilk had 11 rebounds to help CHS to a 45-32 advantage in that category and also had five blocks, while Walrath had six rebounds and Jack Wood five. Dan Leonard also had four assists.
“The kids who came in off the bench — Wood, Leonard, Walrath, Matt Pitcher — stepped it up and did a nice job,” Lowie said.
Matt Vescio led Fulton with 12 points, while Cortland held Alex Baker to seven points after he had scored 32 points on them in the fist meeting.
CORTLAND JVs made if 4-for-4 in overtime games this season, outscoring Fulton 14-3 in the extra session for a 73-62 victory that improved its record to 9-1. Justin Guerin had six of his 12 points in overtime, while Trevor Williamson had four of his team-high 19. Jordan Prior added 13 for CHS. Mark Musemeci had a game-high 24 points for Fulton, including the visitors’ only field goal in overtime, while Jeff Crofoot added 16.
Cortland’s teams travel to East Syracuse-Minoa Thursday for a doubleheader that starts with the 5:30 p.m. JV contest. The Spartans’ varsity squad is, at 5-2, in second place in the OHSL Freedom Division behind 7-0 Jamesville-DeWitt.    





Sharpshooter guns down Homer

WHITNEY POINT – Sharpshooter Eric Mingos nailed a half dozen 3-pointers and poured in 24 points as Whitney Point boys posted a 59-41 non-league basketball win over visiting Homer Central Tuesday.
The Trojans fall to 5-9 on the season while the Falcons improve to 2-9.
“I’m not sure why Whitney Point only had one win coming into our game,” said Homer coach Jim Luchsinger. “They are a very athletic team. That Mingos kid could really shoot the ball.”
Homer trailed 18-12 after the first quarter before the home team increased the margin to 45-23 by the intermission, thanks to 27 second-quarter points.
In the second half, the Trojans tightened up on defense. Homer scored 18 points and Whitney Point netted 14 points, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
Tristan Hartnett played a solid game for Homer as the senior pumped in 19 points, including a strong 11-for-14 effort at the free throw line.
Homer will return to action Friday when the Trojans host McGraw. Junior varsity action tips off at 5:30 p.m.
HOMER JVs were winners over Whitney Point in the prelim.




McGraw, Cincy fall on court

MUNNSVILLE — A late rally was wasted Tuesday night as the McGraw Central boys’ basketball team dropped a 65-61 Central Counties League decision to host Stockbridge Valley.
In another league contest, host Cincinnatus lost to Otselic Valley 43-29.
SV 65, McGraw 61: The Cougars led 51-34 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Eagles roared back and actually tied the game at 61-61 with a chance to take the lead late. After a missed McGraw shot with 12 seconds left, SV’s Dan Slator was fouled and hit a pair of free throws to make it 63-61.
After another Eagle misfire the hosts were fouled and missed a free throw, but the 6-4 senior Slator was able to grab the rebound for a put-back with one second left to account for the final margin.
“We dug ourselves too big a hole,” said McGraw coach Ben Albright, whose team is now 3-4 in league play and 5-5 overall. “We didn’t play good defense at all in the first three quarters, and didn’t do the things we needed to offensively. We played with some intensity in the fourth quarter; we used a full-court press, and guys got where they needed to be for some steals. They looked good, and were ready to play.”
Ryan Russell had 18 points and Evan Emery 12 for McGraw, Emery adding five rebounds (the Eagles were out-boarded 36-24) and Russell 10 steals. Slator had a game-high 28 points for the Cougars (4-3 league, 8-5 overall) and, while no numbers were available, Albright noted that Slator was also the game’s top rebounder.
McGraw JVs lost 42-32 to Stockbridge Valley despite nine points from Chris Williams.
Both Eagle teams visit Homer Friday in non-league action. 
OV 43, Cincinnatus 29: The Vikings finally pulled away from their hosts with a 14-6 fourth-quarter margin to register the CCL victory.
Austin Baldwin had a game-high 12 points and eight rebounds (of 25 total) for the Red Lions, while Dave Cerasani led OV with 10 points. “We played them tough throughout the game, but came up short after getting in foul trouble,” Cincy coach Jon Protheroe said. “We need to make better decisions and look for better shots as the game progresses. This team continues to build upon each game and learn from the mistakes made. We haven’t reached our full potential yet, but look to peak soon.”
No JV results were reported.
Cincinnatus hosts Brookfield Friday.