January 17, 2011


Perfect weekend for Purple Tigers

CHS captures Oneida tourney title

ONEIDA — Having to work a little overtime to get into the finals of the Oneida Sports Boosters Basketball Shootout on Saturday apparently did not wear down Cortland High boys.
The unbeaten Purple Tigers erupted with a 25-point opening quarter and went on to turn back host Oneida 68-53 on Sunday to claim the tournament title and their 10th consecutive victory this season without a stumble.
Four starters scored in double figures in the championship contest, 6-foot-4 center Brandon Babcock leading the way with 19 points to go along with a dozen rebounds and five assists. That performance earned the junior the most valuable player trophy.
Guard Jonathan Prior finished with 17 points and earned a spot on the all-tournament team, forward Justin Hogan had 14 points including some 4-for-5 sharp-shooting from 3-point range and guard Qwuhail Barlow tacked on a dozen points for the winners.
That CHS success came after pulling out a 65-58 overtime win over Syracuse’s Nottingham High in the opening round the previous day. Prior swished a 3-pointer to get that extra period started before some 8-for-8 CHS free throw shooting wrapped things up after regulation ended in a 54-54 standoff.
“We beat two good basketball teams and that’s a pretty good sign, because I felt we weren’t really playing all that well going into the tournament,” said Cortland coach Mick Lowie, whose team returns to OHSL Freedom Division play Wednesday at 7 p.m. hosting a talented Syracuse CBA squad.
It was a rough weekend for the Bulldogs from Nottingham, who were then edged by Rome Free Academy 55-54 in Sunday’s consolation contest.
Cortland 68, Oneida 53: Despite getting off to a 25-13 first quarter lead, Cortland did not coast to victory against Oneida. Trailing 31-19 in the second quarter, the hosts pulled to within 35-33 with 1:30 left before half-time.
The Purple Tigers regrouped to go up 40-33 at the break, and finally pulled away in the fourth quarter. A key 3-pointer by Hogan built an 11-point cushion and CHS again shot well from the free throw line when it counted the most, going 10-for-14 over the final eight minutes with Prior making all four of his attempts.
Oneida (7-3), 70-66 winners over Rome Free in the first round, got 18 points from sophomore Kyle Peck and 12 from big man Benn DeRocker to stay within striking distance — DeRocker getting in second half foul trouble.
“We came out on fire,” said Lowie of the quick CHS getaway, Barlow doing that early damage when two early free throws were followed up with back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers. “I’ve been looking for that shooting touch the last two or three games.”
Barlow had 13 of Cortland’s 25 first quarter points, with treys from Hogan and forward J.P. Reagan also featured attractions in building an early 12-point cushion.
Babcock had 12 of his 19 points after intermission, when Cortland concentrated more on cashing in on a size advantage inside. “Every time we showed patience and got it inside, we scored,” said Lowie.
Having only 13 turnovers against an Oneida team that switched defenses a lot was also a positive for CHS. “Recognizing what they were doing was a big part of things,” said Lowie.
Hogan had eight rebounds and six assists for Cortland, Reagan capped a big weekend with four blocked shots and Barlow provided four assists to the win.
Cortland 65, Nottingham 58, OT: After grabbing a 33-25 half-time lead, a four-point third quarter scoring slump nearly did in the Purple Tigers on Saturday.
Nottingham’s switch to a 1-3-1 zone, which the Bulldogs have done in the recent past against CHS, proved bothersome. “Not that we weren’t ready for it, but it caught us off guard,” admitted Coach Lowie.
Nottingham took a 39-37 lead into the fourth quarter and tried to hold off CHS, a timely trey from Hogan pulling CHS to within a point at one juncture. Going inside to Babcock in the final seconds led to a foul and gave the Purple Tigers a chance to pull out the victory in regulation. After making the first free throw with four seconds left, Babcock missed the second and this game was headed to overtime.
Cortland did not miss from the free throw line again after Prior’s 3-pointer provided the lead in OT. Babcock was 4-for-4, Reagan 2-for-2, and Prior 2-for-2 while pulling away from the Bulldogs for keeps.
Nottingham (3-6) was led by Tyquan Rolon with 15 points, while 6-foot-5 Ronnie Roberts tossed in 12. While CHS made 25-of-28 free throws for the game, the Bulldogs made only half of their 12 free throws.
Babcock finished with 20 points, Prior had 17 points and Reagan 13 points and 10 rebounds for CHS. Hogan had a solid all-around game with eight points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Winning three times over a four-day stretch — CHS topping Fulton 60-34 last Thursday prior to the weekend’s success — will provide some momentum to take against a Syracuse CBA squad looking to battle unbeaten and No. 1 state-ranked Jamesville-DeWitt in the Freedom’s National Division. CHS sits alone atop the American Division standings.
“Without a doubt they will be the best team we’ve played all year,” said Lowie of the upcoming Shafer Gymnasium battle against the Brothers (4-2).
CORTLAND JVs suffered a pair of setbacks in the tournament, losing 57-48 to Nottingham on Saturday before dropping a 62-39 consolation contest to Rome Free on Sunday. Isaiah Prior was named to the all-tournament team for the Purple Tigers.
Prior scored 22 points in the loss to Nottingham, his total including four 3-pointers. Nottingham was led by 20 points from Bob Ogletree, while Joe Stackhouse tossed in 12 and Jim Adams 10.
In the loss to Rome Free, Prior was again the lone double digit scorer for the Purple Tigers with 10 points. Rome Free’s 20-5 second quarter advantage proved to be the difference, Jim Cooke and Adam Kahler with 15-point performances for the winners.


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