November 30, 2013
Purple Tigers sharp in opening victory
ONEIDA — The Cortland High boys’ basketball team rolled to a 23-8 lead after one quarter and never looked back Friday evening en route to a season-opening 69-52 win over Vernon-Verona-Sherrill in the first round of the NBT Bank/Oneida Sports Boosters Basketball Shootout.
The Purple Tigers were to face Bishop Grimes for the championship at 5:15 p.m. today. The Cobras beat host Oneida 46-35 in Friday’s other game.
Junior guard Sage Brown led a balanced CHS attack with 16 points and also had three steals. Senior forward Daquan Pittman had 12 points and 10 rebounds, senior guards Zach Whalen and Qadir Artis 11 points apiece and junior forward Quinn Kennedy 10 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Eamonn Mahar had 10 assists and was instrumental in helping the winners break V-V-S’s zone defenses.
Senior forward Dalton Cousin led the Red Devils with 23 points.
“I’m very pleased with the way our team performed, playing great team defense and sharing the ball on offense,” Cortland coach Jeremy Milligan said. “Our goal now is to improve in each game.
“V-V-S played 1-3-1 and 2-3 the entire game. We executed well against both zones despite missing two days of practice, on Tuesday and Wednesday, due to the weather. We played well in the first quarter, making 9-of-18 shots. Zach Whalen hit three 3-pointers in that quarter, and started out this season the way he ended last season, burning 3s. Sage had seven of his points in the first quarter and 11 in the first half despite being in foul trouble.”
Milligan was pleased with a number of individual performances by the Purple Tigers.
“Eamonn was the court general, finding open players for easy baskets and open shots,” he said. “Starting out his senior season with 10 assists in indicative of how successful he’ll be all season long. Sage was named Player of the Game despite seeing limited time due to foul trouble. He was all over the court finding ways to score.
“Daquan and Quinn dominated the boards in addition to each putting up double-digit points. It isn’t often that you have two players with double-doubles. We had a 45-28 rebounding advantage. Qadir had a solid performance with five rebounds, five assists and two steals to go with his scoring.”
Milligan also noted that “Cousin, who had nine points in the second quarter, when they got to within seven at 27-20, is a very athletic player. He uses his body well and has a nice touch around the basket.”
Cortland was also to face Bishop Grimes for the championship of the JV tournament this afternoon after a 76-59 win over V-V-S on Friday. Bronson Gagliano led the way with 19 points, while Kersean Perry added 12 and Curtis Wilk had 10. The game was tied 17-17 after one quarter and 42-42 at halftime, the Purple Tigers finally gaining some separation in the third with a 17-10 edge that gave them a 59-52 lead entering the final eight minutes.
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