December 6, 2006


Tigers nipped ... again


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland High center Tom Wilk hits the hardcourt trying to poke the ball away from ES-M’s Greg Lothridge Tuesday at Shafer Gym.CHS was nipped 49-48, Wilk with 14 points in the loss.

Both of the Cortland High boys’ basketball team’s OHSL Freedom Division games have followed a_familiar scenario this season, and that isn’t a good thing for the_Purple Tigers.
On the heels of a 64-63 overtime loss at Fulton a week earlier, the Purple Tigers opened their home season by losing to East Syracuse Minoa Tuesday in a game they led 39-32 heading into the fourth quarter.
In spite of it all, however, CHS coach Mick Lowie was relatively happy with his club’s performance at Shafer Gymnasium.
“The defense did a great job all night,” Lowie said, his team now 2-2 overall. “ES-M is a very exploding team, and we held them under 50 points — the kids did a great job defensively, and I couldn’t ask_for more.
“But offensively, we struggled to put the ball in the basket. We got high-quality shots, but couldn’t finish. And turnovers plagued us, although we only had seven (of a total of 20) in the second half. ES-M heated up a little in the fourth — they were 21-of-60 (35 percent) from the field in the game, and our defense had something to do_with that. All in all, it was a very good effort.”
Lowie also noted that four players were unavailable for the contest, and that “Other kids have to step up and make the plays. Hopefully it makes us a better team.”
The Spartans, now 3-0 in league play and overall, capped their fourth-quarter rally by taking the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Sean Halligan with 1:30 left. Cortland’s Joel White answered with a layup to make it 47-46 with just over a minute left, and the teams then traded baskets (White scoring with 40 seconds left to make it 49-48) before ES-M called a timeout with 26 seconds left.
The Purple Tigers had four fouls to give before the Spartans reached one-and-one, and took nine seconds to commit them. ES-M then missed the front end, and Lowie called a timeout with 15 seconds left to set up a play. Ball movement gave the hosts the shot they wanted, but a quick Spartan foul gave CHS a one-and-one of its own with five seconds left that was also missed. The Purple Tigers got the offensive rebound, but were unable to get a final shot off.
White led Cortland with 16 points, including a 3-pointer, and had a team-high 10 rebounds as well as seven assists and eight steals. CHS had a 41-39 rebounding edge. Tom Wilk added 14 points for the Purple Tigers and also had seven rebounds, as did Kaywon Pittman and Levi Walrath. Lowie praised the efforts of Matt Pitcher and Derek Allen as well.
Greg Lothridge had 20 points and Halligan added 10 for ES-M.
The Cortland JVs crushed ES-M 83-60 to improve to 2-0 on the season as Dyquann Barlow led the way with 19 points, sinking a 3-pointer along the way. Jeff Brown, Kevin Shaw (who had a pair of 3-pointers) and Justin Guerin had 12 points each for the winners, who led 37-21 at halftime. Ben Kreischer had 19 points, Andrew Raymond 14 and Tyler Dattmore 10 for ES-M.
Both Cortland teams host Jamesville-DeWitt Friday, with the JV contest getting things underway at 5:30 p.m.


Dragon women survive IC rally

Sports Editor
As this game headed into crunch time, the marvelous opening half of basketball was nothing but a fond distant memory for SUNY Cortland women.
Now the Red Dragons were in survival mode on their Corey Gymnasium floor. Now they were trying to respond to an Ithaca College second half challenge that had erased a 16-point halftime lead and threatened to put a halt the Red Dragons’ five-game winning streak.
And survive is just what_Cortland did, hanging on for a 61-56 victory.
“We came down and hit a couple of baskets we really needed,” said Coach Jeannette Yeoman after her 6-1 squad escaped. “If we had hit them earlier, we might not have been in that position.”
Cortland responded to every challenge when it counted the most.
* When freshman guard Katherine Bixby hit a 3-pointer to get Ithaca within 52-20 with 2:21 to play, Cortland junior forward Sara Cavanaugh posted low and scored.
* When Sue Kelly drove for a lay-up to get Ithaca within 54-52 with 1:43 left, freshman Jessica Laing calmly knocked down both ends of a 1-and-1 free throw chance 10 seconds later.
* When center Jeanine Burke scored down low and drew a foul, only to miss her free throw attempt, Ithaca was within 56-54. And the visitors got the ball back when Kelly grabbed the team’s 14th offensive rebound. But the Bombers were whistled for a traveling violation with just under a minute to go, leading to Cavanaugh scoring again from the low post with 35 seconds left to play.
* And when Kelly banked in a shot after being hit with a pass cutting down the lane to get Ithaca within 58-56 with 22.4 seconds left, sophomore guard Maggie Byrne made a pair of free throws three seconds later. Ithaca finally missed a shot rebounded by Cortland freshman Emily Martin, who hit the first of two free throws to finish the scoring with 7.9 ticks remaining.
“We’re pretty good at that,” said Cavanaugh of Cortland’s big plays down the stretch, her two clutch baskets part of an 11-point performance. “We knew we had to stay calm and we didn’t panic, and it worked.”
Byrne led the way with 16 points while putting in 38 minutes of court time and Laing was a steady 12-point and 12-rebound presence for the Red Dragons.
The loss dropped Ithaca to 1-5, the Bombers with a tough early season schedule and losses to Skidmore, No. 2 nationally-ranked Rochester, Oswego and William Smith on their resume.
“We’ve had enough moral victories, though,” said IC coach Dan Raymond, the Cortland graduate who coached the Red Dragons in the 1997-98 season, of this un-rewarded comeback.
SPARKED BY BYRNE, Cortland could do no wrong over the first 20 minutes. The Red Dragons shot 60 percent from the floor while grabbing a 42-26 lead.
Byrne had 11 points, seven steals and six assists during that outburst. Sophomore starting forward Ali Canale made 4-of-5 shots and sophomore guard Kristin Ciccone came off the bench to contribute six points and a pair of assists as Cortland could do no wrong.
Things changed after the halftime break.
Cortland went nearly seven scoreless minutes to open the second half before freshman Jessica Laing scored after grabbing an offensive rebound — the only offensive rebound the Red Dragons got their hands on all night while being out-rebounded 40-32.
“We came out slow in the second half and they took advantage,” said Red Dragon Cavanaugh.
“We wanted to extend the lead in the second half by rebounding and not giving up 3-pointers, because that’s their offense, and it didn’t happen,” said Coach Yeoman.
Ithaca made 10 3-pointers on the night, as the Bombers backcourt did the bulk of their scoring. Erin Sanvidge had 16 points and four 3-pointers, Kelly 15 points and three treys and Bixby 10 points and a pair of long-range connections. Burke was the fourth Bomber in double figures, finishing with 10 points.
But the second half defensive work, Cortland shooting just 6-of-20 from the floor and turning the ball over eight times, helped IC come back.
“The challenge we put to our kids was to get in their faces,” said Raymond, unhappy with the open looks Cortland shooters got in the opening half. “We didn’t give them anything in the second half. Their shots were all challenged.”
“We need to learn from this,” said Yeoman, Cortland back home Friday for a 7 p.m. con-conference hosting of Nazareth College.




Trojans comeback trips up Phoenix

Ashley Brown set a new career 3-point record, but it was the trey by Stephanie Hartquist in the final minute that led Homer Central girls to a 44-42 come-from-behind OHSL Freedom Division basketball win over visiting Phoenix Tuesday.
Hartquist’s trey capped a 20-point fourth quarter burst that saw the Trojans overcome an early 17-point deficit in the third quarter to even their record at 2-2 overall while jumping to 1-0 in division play.
“It was a great team effort by all the girls,” said Homer coach Brenda Nobles. “We got behind by 17 points, but the girls never quit. They kept fighting back. It was an exciting fourth quarter.”
Homer led 12-11 after the first quarter, but Phoenix used a 20-6 second-quarter advantage to build a 31-18 halftime edge. Jenna Rossi scored all of her game-high 18 points in the first half before being slowed down by an injury. Rossi was still on the floor but ineffective.
The Firebirds increased their advantage to 17 points before the Trojans caught fire and roared back into contention with a 20-5 edge the rest of the period.
“After Phoenix got the big lead, we really outplayed them the rest of the way,” said Nobles.
Trailing 40-38 entering the fourth quarter, Homer continued to use its height advantage to control enough play to pull out the victory. It was the Hartquist long-range bomb that proved to be the difference. Hartquist finished a good night with nine points, seven rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists.
Phoenix did get a shot off to win the game, but it was off the mark and Halee Riley grabbed her sixth rebound of the night to secure the Trojan win.
Brown shared game-high honors with 18 points. She had five 3-pointers in the game, giving her 11 on the season. More importantly, Brown now has 41 treys for her career, breaking the school record of 37 formerly held by Brynne Hartnett.
“It really was a team effort,” said Nobles. “Halee and Gabby Luety scored some crucial points for us as did Erin McSherry. Hillary (Simon) pulled down 13 rebounds and Meghan Finn grabbed nine rebounds for us. Everyone on this team did their part when they were in the game. It was a nice win for the girls.”
Homer will return to action Friday when the Trojans host East Syracuse-Minoa in OHSL Freedom Division action. JV action will tip-off at_5:30 p.m.
IN JV PLAY, turnovers proved costly as Homer was again denied victory. The Trojans turned the ball over 29 times during a close 39-33 loss to visiting Phoenix.
Jessica Rigg led the Homer (0-3 overall) attack with 12 points while Ashley Crossway added 11 points. Katie VanValkenburg led the team with eight rebounds.
Jill Murphy paced Phoenix with 12 points while Mary Bergman had 11 points.