December 2, 2013
Purple Tigers tumble in final
ONEIDA — After shooting so well in an opening round victory over Vernon-Verona-Sherrill at the Oneida NBT Tournament the previous night, Cortland High boys could not continue that pace in Saturday’s title game.
But despite shooting only 26 percent from the floor and being vastly out-rebounded, the Purple Tigers stayed close throughout before Biship Grimes secured a 56-44 basketball victory.
“Despite taking less shots from the floor than our first game, I felt we got the ball where we wanted it and had open looks but the shots were not falling for us. And some of those shots were within the paint,” said CHS coach Jeremy Milligan, whose squad made 46 percent of their attempts from the floor in 69-52 win over V-V-S to get the season started on Friday.
Against Bishop Grimes, Quinn Kennedy with 15 points and Zach Whalen with 11 were the lone Purple Tigers scoring in double figures. Kennedy and guard Eamon Maher were named to the All-Tournament team.
Maher collected a dozen assists, nine points, seven rebounds and two steals in the two games as well as playing solid defense against some quick Bishop Grimes guards in the title game. Kennedy had 25 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and two steals over two days of play.
While missing six of its first seven shots against Bishop Grimes, Cortland (1-1) battled back to be within 25-23 at halftime with Whalen connecting on a late 3-pointer. The Bishop Grimes lead grew to seven points going into the fourth quarter, as CHS made just 2-of-11 shots in that third stanza.
The Cobras (2-0) made 10-of-16 free throws over the final eight minutes, including some critical late makes from the charity stripe, to hold off any CHS fourth quarter comeback plans. With CHS in fouling mode to stop the clock and prolong the game, Grimes was able to pull away.
Tom Steinberg scored 18 points and Joe Arrigo 17 for Bishop Grimes, who held a dominating 46-26 rebounding edge. The Cobras grabbed 15 misses off the offensive glass, Steinberg a partcular nuisance.
“I felt like we matched up well against Grimes. There were no major height advantages they had,” said Coach Milligan. “Grimes players just attacked the offensive glass hard and wanted the ball. They had guards who really went after the ball and most lose-ball rebounding went in their direction.”
Bishop Grimes had played zone in an opening round win over Oneida, but switched to an aggressive man-to-man against CHS with defenders swarming on any attempt to drive to the basket.
“We executed our sets fairly well, but just couldn’t seem to find the bottom of the net,” said Milligan.
Cortland also made just 13-of-21 free throws for the game.
“I’m proud of the way our team never gave up and continued to fight until the end. Let’s hope this will be our last game of the season when we shoot the ball this poorly and great out-rebounded by 20,” said Milligan.
CHS will visit Section 3 Class A runner-up New Hartford this coming Friday, that non-league road trip a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
In the third place consolation contest Saturday, tourney host Oneida was a 48-40 winner over V-V-S.
CORTLAND JVs took the tournament title with a 60-51 win over Bishop Grimes, thanks to a third quarter surge. The Purple Tigers (2-0) took a 30-27 half-time lead and built it up to 46-35 heading into the final quarter.
Kersean Perry had 15 points for Cortland, six of those coming in the third quarter when the Purple Tigers out-scored the Cobras 16-8. Bryshawn Lewis had 10 of his 14 points in the opening half for the winners, while Jahvonte Edwards added 10 points and John Khazzaka nine.
Mark Shattuck topped Bishop Grimes with 17 points, Connor Smith with 11 and Shawn Gashi with 10 also reaching double digits.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe