February 9, 2009


Purple Tigers bounce back with win at Tully

TULLY — With little time to recover from a tough loss the previous evening, Cortland High boys’ basketball coach Mick Lowie was not too sure how his team would respond taking on a talented Tully team in a non-league Saturday matinee.
The Purple Tigers would be up to the challenge, despite having center Trevor Williamson in foul trouble, as junior guard Jordan Prior and senior guard Will Fickenscher sparked a 56-46 victory on the Black Knights’ home court.
Prior played what Lowie termed “his best complete game” of the season, complementing a 15-point performance with a solid floor game the produced nine assist and only alone turnover. The Purple Tigers had just 11 turnovers for the game, a figure Coach Lowie felt was a season-low.
Fickenscher displayed a sharp shooting touch while adding 14 points to the winner’s cause, including a trio of 3-point connections. He made 5-of -7 shots for the game.
A couple of Fickenscher treys came in the third quarter when Cortland built a 20-point lead, Jason Hogan scoring seven of his eight points during that spurt including a 3-pointer of his own. Tully did trim that 46-26 deficit to nine points early in the fourth quarter, but the closest the Black Knights would get would be 53-46 with 26 seconds left on the clock.
Cortland, coming off a 61-43 home court loss to Fowler the previous evening, is now 11-8 overall and will close out the regular season hosting OHSL Freedom American Division leader Bishop Ludden this coming Friday.
It was only the third loss in 17 outings for Tully, which failed to get anyone in double figures against some tenacious Cortland zone defensive work. Connor Carroll had nine points to lead the hosts, while Bryan Malone and Tyler Redington added eight points apiece.
“I don’t care if they’re Class C, that’s a good team. They came into the game 14-2,” said Lowie of tough Tully, which boasts a big front line that finished with a 44-28 rebounding edge over the Purple Tigers. Having the 6-foot-3 Williamson pick up two early fouls that caused him to spend a big chunk of time on the bench in the first half, with a third personal coming in the early stages of the second half, didn’t help CHS in the rebounding department — though Coach Lowie felt seniors Justin Guerin and Robert Wade filled in well when Williamson was playing the role of spectator.
“We knew we had to go in there and play a ball game,” said Lowie of taking on Tully, also worried about having no practice time to prepare. “I was proud how well our kids were able to make defensive adjustments on the fly.”
When Tully did cut into the big CHS second half lead, including a pair of 3-pointers from Redington highlighted by a desperate long distance banked shot with the shot clock running out, the visitors kept their calm. CHS was 6-for-8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, including two big makes from Guerin when Tully seemed on the verge of making things interesting. Cortland was 13-for-18 from the stripe for the game, Prior showing a perfect 8-for-8 touch. Caleb Wright was the top CS rebounder with seven, Hughes adding four. Hogan had four assists to go along with his big third quarter, too.
CORTLAND JVs had three players score in double figures during a 65-38 win over Tully, the 11th straight victory for the Purple Tigers (14-3). Alex Stacey and P.J. Mahar led the way with 14 points apiece, Stacey with a trio of 3-pointers and Mahar hitting a pair from deep range. Justin Tabel added 11 points for CHS, which out-scored the Black Knights 39-16 over the middle two quarters.