January 31, 2007


Purple Tigers roll, 74-46 —

Early CHS spurt on Trojans’ court


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland High big man Tom Wilk eyes the basket while being defended by Homer Central’s Jake Andrews (back) and Paul Armideo during Tuesday’s basketball clash. Wilk scored 24 points as visiting CHS won 74-46.

Staff Writer

During the pre-game introductions Tuesday night, Homer Central coach Jim Luchsinger gave senior Joel White a quick hug and whispered something in the Cortland High sharpshooter’s ear.
“I told him that I did not wish him any bad luck, but don’t shoot as well as you did the first time we played,” Luchsinger chuckled in reference to the 39-point barrage White had in a 74-43 December win at Shafer Gymnasium.
Apparently, White was not listening because the senior hit two 3-pointers in the opening minute and made one steal during a 30-point opening quarter by the visitors.
White finished with 15 points in the quarter and 26 points in the game as Cortland improved to 12-6 with a 74-46 non-league over the Trojans on Senior Night at Homer High School. In his typical fashion, White hit 11-of-18 shots (4-for-9 behind the arc), grabbed seven rebounds, dished out seven assists and made six steals to lead the Purple Tigers.
In the first three minutes, White nailed three treys and Kaywon Pittman netted two rainbow jumpers as Cortland dashed to a 13-2 lead, which prompted Luchsinger to call the first of three timeouts in the quarter.
Mike Carboine and Joe May each scored for the Trojans after the break as Homer pulled to within 13-6, but Pittman (10 points) drained a 3-pointer to spark a 17-2 run over the final 3:30 of the quarter as Cortland led 30-8 after the first eight minutes.
“THE FIRST QUARTER has been our nemesis all season long,” said Luchsinger. “Cortland hit their first four shots and Joel hit his first three. All of a sudden we are down 12 points. I don’t think we gave up 30 points in a quarter all season.”
Homer played a better second quarter, but the Trojans could only trim five points off the deficit as Cortland enjoyed a 37-20 halftime advantage.
Sensing a possible shift in momentum, Cortland coach Mick Lowie urged his team to get back into their offense and worked the ball inside to Tom Wilk. The Purple Tigers heeded their advice of their coach as the 6-foot-8 senior poured in all 24 of his points during the second half to help Cortland maintain its advantage. Wilk also had a team-high 12 rebounds.
“I told the guys that eight 3-pointers in the first half were more than we get in two or three games,” said Lowie. “I told them that we needed to work the offense more and attack the high post. We did to a better job of that in the second half. It is tough to slow these kids down. They like the transition game and they like to run.”
“We did a good job of holding them to seven points in the second quarter and got close in the fourth, but could never get over that hump,” said Luchsinger. “We shot poorly from the foul line, but I am still proud of the kids. All the guys worked really hard. Our seniors gave it their all in their final home game, These seniors will be sorely missed next year, Our record really does not matter because these kids have come out every day and given it their all.”
Tristan Hartnett netted 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in his final home game for the Trojans. Derrick McCall came off the bench to score 12 points and grab 11 rebounds. The Trojans had 17 offensive rebounds in the game and 39 for the game, just five fewer than Cortland.
Cortland will return to action next Tuesday when the Purple Tigers travel to Mexico for an OHSL contest. There are just two regular season games remaining before sectionals begin.
“This was a big win for us,” said Lowie. “Any time you go on the road and win, it is important. It was a hard game tonight. It was an up-and-down the court game and physical inside. It is the kind of game you want near the end of the season. We got a win and we got a chance to play a lot of kids. Those are both pluses.”
Homer will return to the court next Tuesday at Chittenango in non-league play.
IN JV ACTION, clutch late-game free throw shooting by eighth-grader Kevin Shaw helped Cortland High hold on for a 57-55 win over Homer, snapping a five-game losing streak for the Purple Tigers (10-6).
Shaw hit a big 3-pointer to give his team a five-point cushion earlier in the fourth quarter, but it a four last minute foul shots that proved the most important as Shaw finished the night 6-for-6 at the charity stripe and totaled a game-high 28 points.
“We executed our offense much better in the second half,” said Cortland coach Yale Hughes after his team rallied from a 30-24 halftime deficit with 20 third-quarter points to take a 44-36 lead. “We had lost five straight games and I was just looking for a win. I did not care if it was one point or 41 points. It was a huge win, just to make practices better. Our heads have been done and we have not been practicing well. The win gives our guys a little more confidence. Homer played a great game. Much better than the game we played at Cortland.”
Homer (10-5) trailed 17-15 after the first quarter, but came on strong in the second quarter with 15 more points to take the six-point halftime advantage. Cortland held the Trojans to six points in the third quarter, but the home team answered with 17 fourth-quarter points. Homer pulled to within two points a couple of times late, but Cortland made the big shot or the big defensive play to hold on. Trevor Williamson added 16 points to the Cortland attack.
Kane Hartnett netted 18 points for Homer with Brandon Simonetta and Joey Rivers adding 13 and 11 points respectively.
After losing 77-41 in the first meeting on December 19, Homer coach Chip Stewart would have liked to get the win this time, but was pleased overall with his kids effort.
“The difference in this game was the third quarter,” said Stewart. “We really did not score. Cortland took control on the boards and we got in some foul trouble, but we did battle back. I am so proud of how these kids played tonight. We could have folded and went in the tank like we did on their court, but our kids showed a lot of pride and character. We are getting there and we are getting better. You have to be exposed to these high intensity, close games before you can win them. Now our guys will learn how to win these types of games. Everyone who stepped on the floor tonight played hard and I liked the effort we showed.”


Dragons end skid with great escape

NEW PALTZ — With seniors Dave Maggiacomo and Dave Jutton showing the way, SUNY Cortland men ended a four-game losing skid in dramatic fashion Tuesday night.
Maggiacomo stole an inbounds pass and hit a game-tying jumper with one second left in regulation to cap a furious rally, then scored eight points in overtime as the Red Dragons posted a 73-70 victory at New Paltz in SUNY Athletic Conference basketball play.
Jutton became the 18th player in team history to reach the career 1,000-point mark, the sharp-shooting guard from Red Hook now at 1,004 over four seasons.
Maggiacomo and Jutton shared team-scoring honors with 15 points apiece, as Cortland improved to 2-7 in the conference and 6-12 overall. Those veterans headed a balanced scoring attack that was key to this comeback.
Freshman center Mike Lewis recorded career-highs of 13 points and 15 rebounds, sophomore forward Carson Niehoff added 12 points and seven rebounds and senior Rod Headley finished with 10 points while returning to the starting line-up for the first time since breaking his nose.
Amseshem Foluke-Henderson led New Paltz with 21 points and 12 rebounds and four assists and John Hauser tallied 19 points and nine rebounds. The Hawks, coached by former Red Dragon assistant Doug Pasquarella, are 3-7 in conference play and 8-9 overall.
Cortland led by as many as eight points in the first half and by a 35-30 count at halftime. New Paltz, however, took a 39-38 lead on Hauser’s layup with 16:05 left and held the lead until the closing seconds of regulation.
The Hawks were up 54-47 with 4:54 remaining and still held a 58-51 lead on a Hauser basket with 1:45 left. Jutton hit one free throw for his 1,000th point with 1:28 left and Maggiacomo’s 3-pointer, off a Niehoff steal and assist, brought the Red Dragons within 58-55 with 1:21 on the clock.
Cortland had a chance to tie the game but missed a 3-pointer, and Matt Irwin made one free throw with 35 seconds left to extend New Paltz’s lead to 59-55. The Red Dragons missed another trey with 21 seconds left, but the hosts failed to convert on a free throw attempt with 20 seconds remaining.
Still down four, Cortland missed two more shots before Niehoff’s putback with three seconds left cut the New Paltz lead to 59-57. Following a timeout by each team, Maggiacomo stole the inbounds pass and hit the tying shot with one second remaining.
New Paltz made the first two shots of the overtime period to take a 63-59 lead, but Maggiacomo responded with a pair of three-pointers and Cortland led 65-63 with 2:54 left. Neither team scored again until Lewis converted on 1-of-2 free throws with 47 seconds left. Maggiacomo’s two charity tosses with 35 seconds on the clock gave Cortland a 68-63 lead.
The Hawks reduced their deficit to three after a Tony Cannon layup with 25 seconds left. Jutton made two free throws at both the 23-second and 15-second marks, sandwiched around a Foluke-Henderson layup, and Cortland was up by five.
Hauser nailed a 3-pointer with nine seconds left and the Hawks had a chance to tie after Niehoff made just 1-of-2 foul shots with seven seconds left. A New Paltz 3-pointer at the buzzer hit off the rim, however, to give Cortland the victory.
Cortland is back home Friday, Potsdam visiting for an 8 p.m. Corey Gymnasium start. On Saturday, the Red Dragons host Plattsburgh at 4 p.m.


First line shines for CHS-Homer

LYSANDER — You might say that the Cortland-Homer hockey team’s first line had a pretty good night against host Central Square Tuesday night at Lysander Rink.
That’s good, as in five goals and 11 total points as the Golden Eagles whipped the Red Hawks 7-2.
The win upped C-H’s league record to 8-5-1 in the CNYSHL Division II West — good for third place a point ahead of Skaneateles, which has played three less league games. The winners stand 11-9-1 overall.
Central Square, in its first year of competition, is winless in 13 league games and is 0-19 overall.
Steve Stowell led the way for the Golden Eagles with three goals and two assists, while Matt Porter had two goals and an assist and Paul Zimmerman, the third member of the line, picked up three assists.
“Steve did a good job, and skated hard at both ends,” Golden Eagles coach Don Armstrong said. “Matt is playing pretty well and Paul is playing consistently. They’ll all have to have real strong games Friday (when Skaneateles visits on C-H’s Senior Night). Everyone’s going to have to step it up.”
Armstrong and his staff talked to the team before the game about coming out strong right away, and the visitors had a 2-0 lead in the first 4:25 of the contest. Stowell opened the scoring 3:45 in as he got the puck from Zimmerman off the draw and scored from the right-wing circle. Porter made it 2-0 just 40 seconds later from point-blank range on a pass from Stowell, Vic Marchetti also picking up an assist on the play.
Porter scored from point-blank range again at 12:44, this time on a pass from Zimmerman with Stowell also earning an assist, and Andre Coen closed out the first-period scoring 52 seconds later off second-line mates matt Edwards and Carl Zimmerman.
Stowell scored his second of the game 47 seconds into the second period off Porter and Paul Zimmerman, while Carl Zimmerman scored unassisted at 11:34 before Central Square’s Mike Sicchio broke up the shutout with 1:07 left in the stanza.
Sicchio scored 41 seconds into the third to make it 6-2, and Stowell got the hat trick and closed out the scoring with 1:19 left off an assist from Codie Garrison.
The Golden Eagles outshot their hosts 39-24, with each goalie playing a period. Brian Frankel stopped all eight shots in a scoreless first, while Matt Everts stopped four of five shots in the second — the first two being breakaways — and Brett Kash 10 of 11 in the third. Matt Hale had 32 saves for the Red Hawks.
As noted, Friday’s game against visiting Skaneateles is on Cortland-Homers Senior Night. Frankel, Everts, Dan Farris, Taylor Brown and Ian Gutchess will be feted, with Gutchess having played three varsity seasons and the rest closing out their fourth.