February 12, 2014
OHSL boys basketball: Purple Tigers survive road test
CHITTENANGO — The middle two quarters determined the outcome of the Cortland High boys’ basketball team’s regular-season finale at Chittenango Tuesday night.
The Purple Tigers trailed 19-17 after one quarter, but used a half-court press to rattle the Bears, moving to a 32-28 halftime lead and using a 23-8 third-quarter advantage to take control in what ended up a 72-61 victory.
CHS closed its OHSL Freedom National Division season at 9-4, winding up second behind Jamesville-DeWitt, and is 13-5 overall heading into post-season play. The Bears finished 1-12 in the league and 2-16 overall.
“We continued with the half-court press, and it caused issues for Chittenango,” Cortland coach Jeremy Milligan said. “We had well-balanced scoring in the third, with seven different players contributing. Junior guard Sage Brown, who finished with a team-high 18 points in three quarters of play, scored five of those in the third.
“Just as it looked like we’d run away with it Chittenango got hot in the fourth, going on a run and cutting the lead to 12 with 3:30 left,” Milligan said. “Despite their attempt to stretch out the game by stopping the clock and putting our players on the line, we made enough free throws to maintain the lead. We took 17 free throws in the fourth quarter and made 11.”
Sophomore guard Nick Craig led the way by draining 4-of-6 foul shots while senior forward Daquan Pittman went 3-for-3 and senior guard Eamonn Mahar 2-for-2.
“I was pleased with how well we played our trapping half-court zone,” Milligan said. “This is something we have really gotten better at as the season has gone on, and it has caused issues for many teams, including Chittenango.
“I give their team and coach (John) Clancy credit. They never gave up, played the game hard and put points up on the board. Jordan Sass really went out with a high note to end his career.”
Sass had a game-high 20 points while Dan Filsinger and Connor Delaney had 13 each for Chittenango. Brown had five rebounds and four assists to go with his 18 points (13 in the first half) for CHS, while junior forward Quinn Kennedy had 12 points, all but three in the first half, and nine rebounds. Three players — Craig (who also had four steals), senior forward Teddy Phillips (nine rebounds) and Mahar (five rebounds, five assists) scored eight points each for the visitors.
“Defending our team is not easy,” Milligan said. “Zach Whelan and Brown are our two consistent scoring threats, but on any given night Kennedy, Phillips, Mahar, Qadir Artis or Craig can score in double digits, too. Tonight Zach’s shooting was off but his teammates picked up the slack.”
Senior guard Whelan did hit a pair of 3-pointers in the contest, giving him 55 treys for the season. He also made 55 shots from beyond the arc during all of last season to first tie Joel White’s single-season mark.
“According to my records, this game was to solidify the fourth seed and a home sectional game,” Milligan said, the seeding meeting to take place today.
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