December 16, 2006


Trojans savor comeback win


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer Central’s Joe May (25) posts up against Mexico defender Andy Horn last night.Trojans were 43-40 home court winners, May with seven points

With an outstanding fourth-quarter scoring barrage, Homer Central boys climbed back to the .500 mark Friday.
Trailing by eight points entering the final eight minutes, the Trojans poured in 16 points to rally for a 43-40 non-league basketball victory over visiting Mexico. Homer is now 4-4 on the season while Mexico slides to 0-3.
This was the first Trojan win over the Tigers since Jan. 4. in 2002, when Homer won 62-52 in overtime_at Mexico.
“We keep getting better,” said Homer coach Jim Luchsinger. “Our defense is really playing well and we are not committing a lot of fouls. That really helps us stay in the game.”
In a low scoring first-half, the visitors built a 9-5 lead after one quarter and increased their advantage to 20-15 by the halftime intermission.
In the third quarter, Mexico increased its leading margin to 35-27 before Homer mounted its comeback.
“We had a few crucial turnovers in the first half, but our defense was still keeping us in the game,” said Luchsinger. “We started the third quarter a little flat. We were down by 10_of 12 points, but we started to_come around.”
The Trojans began hitting their shots and Mexico went cold from the field. With the Trojans leading 42-20, Paul Fedele stole the ball from Ben Ariola with 12 seconds left and was immediately fouled. Fedele hit one of two free throws.
After each team called a time out, Mexico missed a tying shot and Mike Carboine grabbed the rebound at the final buzzer to secure the Trojan victory.
“Our defense really took over in the fourth quarter, holding Mexico to just five points,” said Luchsinger.
Tristan Hartnett led Homer with 12 points, while Carboine netted_11 points.
Ariola and Chad Nearbin shared high scoring honors for the Tigers with seven points each.
Through eight games, the Trojan defense has been strong, holding opponents to just 48.6 points per game.
“We just need to get through next week,” said Luchsinger of the upcoming stretch before the holiday break. “We will have played everyone that we would have seen in the league, except Chittenango. It will be interesting to see what the new year will bring.”
Homer will return to action Tuesday when the Trojans travel to neighboring rival Cortland High. Junior varsity action will tip-off at 5:30 p.m.
MEXICO JVs escaped with a 54-50 win over Homer in the evening’s opening contest. Mexico led 28-23 at halftime, but Homer (40-2 overall) fought back to lead 38-32 heading into the fourth quarter,
“Turnovers killed us in the fourth quarter,” said Homer coach Chip Stewart. “We just need to learn how to play in close games.”
Kane Hartnett led Homer with 15 points with Aaron Darr adding_11 points.


Purple Tigers ornery on defense

Staff Writer

The Cortland High boys’ basketball team is in the zone, pretty much because of the way it plays in the zone.
After smothering visiting Mexico’s offense in a 52-29 OHSL Freedom Division win three nights before, the host Purple Tigers used a savage zone defense to do the same thing to Chittenango Friday night in what ended up a 56-30 victory. Cortland improved to 2-3 in league play and 4-3 overall in_the process.
“That was probably as good an all-around game as we’ve played all year,” an obviously pleased CHS coach Mick Lowie said afterwards. “We’re playing good defense, making teams earn what they get. I’m happy with the way our guys are moving defensively, covering players, moving their heads, keeping their hands up to take away the passing lanes and forcing things towards our big men.”
The Purple Tigers have 6-foot-8 senior Tom Wilk and 6-foot-5 junior Matt Pitcher patrolling the paint.
“It’s a 2-3 zone and we try to match up as much as we can, though it’s not a true match-up zone. We first used it at East Syracuse-Minoa (in a 49-48 loss Dec. 5); their point guard chewed us up both games last year, and I feel they’re quicker that we are,” said Lowie. “We played pretty well, and weren’t bad against Jamesville-DeWitt (a 65-54 loss last Friday). We still practice man-to-man, because a good man-to-man makes for a good zone. It’s not an easy defense to play.”
The Purple Tigers made everything look easy early on against the Bears, scoring the first nine points of the game and never trailing. Coach John Clancy’s black-clad squad was plagued by scoreless stretches, going more than four minutes without any points in each of the first three quarters and scoring only four points in the fourth, with a gap of 5:15 between their two baskets.
The visitors shot just 24 percent (13-for-55) from the floor, including just 1-of-19 from behind the 3-point arc, while CHS was 21-for-54 (39 percent) and hit a trio of 3-pointers in 13 attempts.
ASKED IF IT WAS a case of bad offensive execution or good defense, Clancy, whose team is now 1-2 league and 3-4 overall, said “A bit of both. Obviously Cortland has some size, and with (Joel) White up top you have to think about where he is. One of the things we wanted to do was get Wilk in some foul trouble, which we did (two of his three personals coming in the first half), and we did a good job of getting the ball into our big man, (6-5) Heath Stone. We got a lot of shots in close that didn’t fall; sometimes a game is about five-foot shots, and Cortland made more of those than we did tonight.
“Our defense is playing a little better, with a better idea of what’s going on, but it’s hard to hold a team down when you’re only scoring many two or four points over four minutes. We tend to turn the ball over, and a game goes from a tie to a six- or eight-point deficit really fast. We throw the ball to the other team sometimes.”
The Bears also had the ball stolen from them 15 times in the contest, 10 of those swipes by White, who also created some others with a frenetic defensive style.
“It’s a matter of everyone else pressuring them,” White said. “I look at (the ball-handlers’) eyes, and keep my hands in the passing lane to tip it. My teammates seem to_always be there to grab the ball. We’re playing good defense right now; hopefully_we can keep it up and get a winning_streak going.”
Lowie noted Chittenango came out in a box-and-one on White to start the third quarter (Cortland leading 24-17), and laughingly recalled that “Then he buried a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half.”
The Bears got within seven points twice in the third, at 27-20 and 31-24, but CHS led 39-26 heading into the final eight minutes and scored the first eight points of the fourth to seal the deal. Both teams substituted freely from that point, Clancy putting in his entire second team in between two free throws by Pitcher that made it 53-28 with 3:05 left.
“CORTLAND IS GOING to have a good year,” he said. “I know Mick was disappointed with the early losses, but they have one of the best players in the league in White, Wilk is a lot better, and I thought Pitcher and (Jack) Wood stepped up tonight for them.”
Derek Allen led Cortland in scoring with 12 points (including one 3-pointer), while White had 11 (with a pair of 3-pointers) to go along with his 10 steals, five rebounds and four assists. Levi Walrath added eight points and had five rebounds, and Wood scored all five of his points in the second quarter, including an early jumper that started a 9-0 run to open the stanza, and also had five rebounds.
Kaywon Pittman had a team-high eight boards and Wilk added seven as Cortland pulled down 44 rebounds to Chittenango’s 31. CHS committed only 14 turnovers in the game to 18 for the Bears, who got 13 points from Stone.
“Another thing that may be somewhat overlooked is the night Derek Allen had,” Lowie said. “I told the team before the game that he could have a big night; he’s playing with a good deal of confidence and can handle the ball, which lets Joel go to work without it.
“Kaywon, Jack and Levi all played well, and Matt has done a good job defensively and been strong on the boards. Along with Wilk, he gives us 10 fouls (to give) inside.
“I told Mick that other than J-D, anybody can beat anybody in the league,” Clancy said. “When Cortland comes up to our place, I think we have a chance to beat them.”
Lowie echoed those sentiments, noting that “Chittenango is a good team. We could lose to them; in fact, any team can beat or lose to any other team (excluding J-D).”
CORTLAND JVs got 29 points from Kevin Shaw and 11 from Robert Wade in a 67-57 win over Chittenango that upped their record to 4-1. The Purple Tigers led 18-16 after one quarter, 39-28 at halftime and 53-44 entering the fourth. Chittenango got 18 points from Andrew Moth and 12 from Michel Major.
Both Cortland High teams host Homer Central on Tuesday in their final pre-Christmas contests, the JVs getting things underway at 5:30 p.m.



Quick Cortland getaway

CHITTENANGO — To say that the Cortland High girls’ basketball team got off to a fast start against host Chittenango Friday night would be understating the case.
The Purple Tigers scored the first 20 points of the contest and never looked back, improving to 4-1 in the OHSL Freedom Division and 6-1 overall in a 59-28 romp.
“We played man to-man, pressed them, and they had trouble with it,” CHS coach Dick Penoyer said. “A lot of kids got a lot of playing time for us. In fact, for the first time I can remember in my five years as coach everyone got in the game and scored. It was nice to see Courtney Tennant, Alena Turturro and Tiffany Griffin all play well off the bench and get some confidence. Overall, it was a good confidence-builder for the kids.”
Shannon Finucane led the winners with 18 points and also had 10 assists, Penoyer noting: “She distributed the ball very, very well.” Amanda Lawlor added 12 points and Deanna Bishop added 10, and the two shared the team lead in rebounds with six each as Cortland corralled 22 boards in all.
Kaylee Greene led Chittenango (0-4 league, 0-5 overall) with_13 points.
CORTLAND JVs lost 29-21 to Chittenango, Christine Gutchess leading the way with nine points, and fell to 0-5. H. Landers led the Bears with 10 points.
Both Purple Tiger squads visit Homer Tuesday, with the JV game slated to get underway at 5 p.m.