January 12, 2007


Saints squads take different paths to victory over Eagles


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Hannah McGovern (2) of Cincinnatus Christian tries to disrupt Cortland Christian dribbler Sam Fuller (25) in Thursday’s ESCAL basketball game. Fuller scored 13 points in 34-16 win for the Saints.

Cortland Christian Academy_basketball teams went about their winning ways in different_ways Thursday afternoon, though_both remained unbeaten in the_Empire State Christian Athletic Conference.
With rival Cincinnatus Christian Academy in town, the Cortland Christian girls struggled early before a stretch of 12 unanswered points got the hosts started towards a 34-16 victory.
In the nightcap, the Saints jumped out to a 23-1 second quarter lead before finished off a 66-26_victory over Cincinnatus Christian boys.
*In the girls’ opener, Cortland Christian (4-0 ESCAL, 6-0 overall) and Cincinnatus Christian (2-6_ESCAL) both struggled shooting the ball.
The game was deadlocked at 9-9 late in the second quarter before the Saints reeled off a dozen straight points into the third quarter. After making just 5-of-38 shots in the first half, a 22-point second half made the difference.
Sam Fuller had 13 points to lead the Cortland Christian offense, while Leah Sheldon added six points. Larissa Miller had five assists and Courtney Hall three assists, the winners getting points from nine different players.
Kayla Cline topped Cincy Christian with five points, with Rachel Hicks scoring four points.
The Eagles did do a better job against the Saints’ pressure defense than in an earlier meeting.
* All 12 Cortland Christian players contributed points in the nightcap, as the Saints improved to 4-0 in league play and 6-1 overall. Pete Sargent led the way, the 6-foot-4 senior scoring 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
C.J. Burnett had 11 points and seven assists, while Aaron Burnett finished with 10 points. Eighteen of the 29 baskets scored by the winners came off assists.
Greg Buchanan shared top_rebounding honors with Sargent,_also getting his hands on seven misses.
The Eagles from Cincinnatus Christian scored 20 points in the second half. P.J. Passalacqua had nine points, Aaron Blanchard eight and Ben Hicks six for the visitors, who are 3-5 in the ESCAL.
Cortland Christian is back_in action tonight, including the_junior varsity boys’ squad, at Emmanuel in Penn Yan. Cincy Christian hosts Baldwinsville Christian on Tuesday.




Spartans spoil Wilk’s big night

Staff Writer

EAST SYRACUSE — While the offensive game plan worked out pretty well, the worst-case scenario also manifested itself Thursday night for the Cortland High boys’ basketball team.
Despite 30 points from Tom Wilk and being tied 44-44 with host East Syracuse-Minoa, the Purple Tigers dropped a 76-64 OHSL Freedom Division decision as the Spartans scored 32 fourth-quarter points, including a 18-for-19 performance from the foul line where they went 20-for-23 on the night.
“I was scared of just that, getting down late against them and having to foul, because they’re a great free-throw shooting team,” Cortland coach Mick Lowie said. “But that’s not why we lost. It was little things throughout the game, unforced turnovers like balls going though our hands and throwing the ball away. We knew the type of game it would be coming in.
“They started the game in a box-and-one on Joel White, and we were ready for that. The last four games we’ve been able to run the ball well with Tom as the trailer, getting open at the top. He may be our best perimeter shooter and he has the green light to shoot it,” he added. “Very few teams can outrun us; that’s the type of game that suits us with the athletic kids we have.”
“We shot way too many 3-pointers the first time we played them, and they got out on us,” ES-M coach Mark Carr said in reference to his squad’s come-from-behind 49-48 win in Shafer Gym on Dec. 5. “This time we went inside first. A key for us was getting back on defense, and offensively, we wanted to run when we got the opportunity. I think we’re a little quicker than them, except for White, and we wanted to try to wear down their big kid.
“We’ve been hitting our free throws; we were 28-for-31 when we beat Onondaga. I don’t know what it is. In practice I put a guy on the line and if he misses everyone has to run. They don’t like to run, so they all make them.”
As Lowie noted, the final score didn’t indicate the type of game it was, and that was in large part due to Wilk.
The 6-8 senior center was hot from both inside and out, scoring eight points in the first quarter, six in the second and third and 10, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the fourth en route to his career-high points total, which he complemented with 10 rebounds.
ES-M was up 16-14 after one quarter, and the two teams went into halftime tied 29-29.
“My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball for open shots,” Wilk said. “I was finishing everything, trying to take what they gave me and going with the flow of the game. It’s bad to lose, but if you have a good game you know you did everything you could.”
Asked about his outside shooting prowess, Wilk noted: “It comes from being around the gym all the time. I’ve been able to shoot (from outside) since I was little.”
Cortland was in control early, scoring 10 of the game’s first 13 points, before things swung the other way and the hosts went on a 13-4 run to end the period. There were three ties and three lead changes in the third quarter, with CHS senior forward Kaywon Pittman driving in from the left side for the final tie of the quarter with four seconds left, making it 29-29.
The lead changed hands seven times in the third quarter and the game was tied three times, including the end of the stanza. Wilk scored the Purple Tigers’ first five points in the fourth, with a two-pointer and a 3-pointer to forge ties at 46-46 and 49-49, respectively, before ES-M took the lead for good when senior forward Tom Sullivan scored from inside to make it 51-49 with 6:10 left. In all, Sullivan scored all 11 of his points in the fourth and Kondra had 10 of his 18 in that eight-minute stretch. The winners upped the advantage to 63-56 just under the two-minute mark, and from then on the Spartans lived at the foul line.
Greg Lothridge, ES-M’s 6-11 center, scored a consistent 22 points — six in each quarter except the second, when he scored four — and senior guard Sean Halligan added 15. Senior guard White complemented Wilk with 18 points, and also had four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Each team pulled down 36 rebounds in the game, ES-M led by Lothridge’s 12 boards.
The win gave the Spartans a firmer hold on second place in the league, as they improved to 6-2 (9-3 overall). Cortland is now 4-4 in league play and 8-5 overall.
The two teams could meet again as soon as Sunday (in a non-leaguer), as both are part of this weekend’s Oneida Tournament. Cortland faces Central Square (3 p.m.) and ES-M goes against the hosts on Saturday, with the consolation at 1:45 p.m. and the championship at 5:45 p.m. Sunday.
“This was exactly the type of game we can expect Saturday,” Lowie said. “Central Square is a tough, athletic team. If we’re fortunate enough to win and ES-M wins, we’d be happy to play them on a neutral court.”
Wilk echoed those sentiments, noting that “If we win, we’d definitely like to play them again on a neutral court to see what we can do.”
CORTLAND JVs went on a game-ending 7-1 run to send their contest against ES-M into overtime Thursday, but fell 75-71to spoil a 34-point effort by Trevor Williamson.
It was the fourth time in five games that CHS had gone into overtime and the first loss in five such contests overall for the Purple Tigers, now 9-2.
Kevin Shaw added 23 points for Cortland, while Andrew Raymond and Ben Kreischer had 20 points each and Zievaun Wright added 16 for the Spartans.



Dryden upends Groton

Staff Writer

GROTON — There is no substitute for experience. Groton Central boys found that out Thursday night as Dryden High came to Richard Court Gymnasium.
The senior-laden visiting Purple Lions used pressure defense, clutch shooting and made crucial free throws to post a 61-55 Interscholastic Athletic Conference crossover basketball victory to remain in the thick of the playoff race.
After Dryden senior Josh Horton and Groton senior Tyler Tilebein traded 3-pointers for a 53-50 Purple Lion lead, the visitors built a seven-point cushion at 57-50 as junior Robbie Leviere drove the lane for two points and senior Tim Finnerty connected off an offensive rebound with 1:08 left.
Dryden (7-2 IAC, 8-3 overall) connected on four-of-six free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
“This was a huge win for us,” said Dryden coach Dan Miller. “We know that Coach (John) Filzen runs a quality program at Groton. We were coming off a loss to one of our rival (Lansing) Tuesday and having just one day to prepare for an even closer rival. Groton has a young group and they play their tails off.”
“In the first quarter, I think we were still stuck in the mud from Lansing, but we snapped out of it,” Miller added. “It was great seeing the kids share the ball. We were patient against the zone defense and got the ball to Tim (Finnerty) inside. When we did kick the ball back out, guys like Josh Horton hit the shots. It was a good team effort that translated into a good team win.”
Groton (7-3, 8-4) did start quickly as Paul Cooley (14 points) scored on an offensive rebound and Tyler Tilebein (10 points) pulled up off the dribble and hit a short jumper with 7:05 left in the quarter.
Finnerty (20 points) got Dryden on the board with an inside rebound with 5:55 left in the quarter, the Indians went on a 6-0 run to build a 10-4 advantage. Kyle Reed sank one free throw, Cooley buried a 3-pointer and Ethan Tilebein (7 points) hit a driving lay-in with 3:42 left in the clock.
Dryden roared back with seven unanswered points. A baseline drive by Robbie Leviere (13 points) started the run. Finnerty connected on an offensive rebound, Jordan Minnis hit and lay-up and was fouled. Minnis (11 points) added the free throw with 1:56 left in the quarter as the Purple Lions trailed 10-9.
Eric Harris hit the jumper for a 12-9 Groton lead, but the Purple Lions closed out the quarter with a 5-0 run and 15-12 lead. Leviere hit a jumper and Finnerty gave Dryden the lead as he scored off an offensive rebound and Leviere closed out the quarter with a steal and lay-in.
The Purple Lions led most of the second quarter, but Groton to knot the game at 20-20 as Matt Parsons sank a 3-pointer with 2:05 left in the half. Parsons put the Indians in front 22-20 with an offensive rebound.
The lead was short-lived as Finnerty tallied a traditional 3-point play with a deuce and subsequent free throw as the Purple Lions retook a 23-22 advantage.
After a Groton turnover, Horton made his first trey of the night for a 26-22 lead with 1:14 left in the half. The two teams traded points the rest of the quarter and Dryden led 31-27 at the halftime intermission.
The third quarter followed the pattern of the second quarter. Dryden enjoyed a three to five-point lead through the first three minutes of the quarter. Tyler Tilebein hit a short jumper off a feed from Bryan Murphy to pull Groton to within 37-36. The Indians took the lead when Cooley grabbed an offensive miss and put the second chance through the rim. With 4:03 left in the quarter, Horton hit again from the outside with 3:42 left the clock to put Dryden back in front 42-40. The third quarter came to a close with the Purple Lions leading 44-41.
Groton pulled to within 46-45 with 6:43 left in the game, but the Indians would never tie nor lead the game again.
 “We started strong, but a rebound by Dryden on a missed free throw was what got them started,” said Groton coach John Filzen. “We had the lead, but we made some young mistakes and let them right back in the game and we ended up playing catch-up most of the night. We stayed close, but our inexperience showed when Dryden began pressing. We only have the two seniors and that hurt us tonight, but this is another good lesson for our kids. I told the kids we don’t look back. We keep looking forward and that is what we will do as we prepare to face Odessa Tuesday night.”
“Our turnovers off the press and not boxing out on rebounds are what really hurt us the most,” Filzen added. “Especially, not boxing out on free throws, that is one of my biggest pet peeves. Dryden did control the boards and offensive second chances were key tonight.”
Groton will travel to Odessa-Montour in IAC crossover action Tuesday while Dryden will travel to Marathon. JV action tips off at 6 p.m.