December 20, 2006


White steals the show

Purple Tiger shoots down Homer with 39 points


Bill Sinsabaugh/contributing photographer
Cortland High’s Joel White delivers pass in front of the Homer Central bench last night at Shafer Gym. White scored school record 39 points in 74-43 win over the Trojans.

Staff Writer

Two vignettes from Tuesday night’s boys’ basketball game between Cortland High and visiting Homer Central tell you everything you need to know about who owned Shafer Gym.
— With the Trojans breathing down CHS’s neck at 17-13 nearing the midway point of the second quarter, the Purple Tigers’ Joel White scored 10 straight points, with a steal to boot, in a span of 1:13 to make it 27-13 and set the stage for what was to come.
— White left the game with 4:16 left, having scored a career-high 39 points, in between two free throws by Homer’s Joe May. When May sank a foul shot once the ovation by fans of both teams had died down, it gave the Trojans a total of 36 points.
In short, the crowd that came to see the two rivals do battle instead saw the Joel White Show, the 6-2 senior guard pretty much taking the game by the scruff of the neck and forcing it to go in the direction he wanted. Almost incidentally, it ended up as a 74-43 Cortland victory.
“They came out and Jake Andrews hit a couple of 3-pointers to keep it close,” White said in recalling the start of his incredible run. “Coach called a timeout and told us to pick it up. We ran a play and a shot fell for me, then another one, a steal, and shots just kept falling.
“I just tried to get free, and my teammates were finding me. (Tom) Wilk, Levi (Walrath) and Kaywon (Pittman) set great screens low; and I run all the time anyway. It was great team effort.”
“Off the top of my head I can’t remember any player scoring more points for me in the 18 years I’ve coached this team,” Lowie said of White’s performance, which also included 10 steals and eight rebounds and upped his team-high scoring average to 19.1 points per game. Lowie later said that the 39 points may indeed be a school record, eclipsing 38-point performances by Sean Wood in 1986-87 and Dick Clark in 1954-55.
White canned a total of seven 3-pointers in the game to tie the school record for success from behind the arc that Scott Bush had established in 1998.
“I think we had a lot of opportunities for other guys to step up and do things,” Lowie said. “Not that or execution was all that bad, but wow, the shots we missed from point-blank range. We missed a lot of chippies from open guys inside that we could have taken a little better advantage of. The ironic thing is that Joel was the one who started that with a missed layup early.”
The Purple Tigers, now 5-3 overall, were cold early and in fact trailed at one point, 3-1, after Andrews hit the first of his three opening quarter 3-pointers. CHS led 17-10 after the first eight minutes, and Andrews accounted for nine of the Trojans’ points en route to a team-high 14.
He hit another 3-pointer 1:50 into the second quarter to make it 17-13, which set the stage, after some offensive frustration on the part of both teams, for White to take over.
“When you’re hot, you’re hot,” Homer coach Jim Luchsinger said of White’s performance. “He had one heck of a game. He’s a pretty good athlete and does a lot of really good things, and they’re a fairly talented team with the whole package — a couple big kids, a couple who can handle the ball and a couple who can shoot.
“We had way too many turnovers in that (deciding) stretch,” he added. “We wanted to make Joel get his points off set plays, not by taking the ball away. We gave up way too many points that were undefended, when they just stole the ball and scored in the open court. For us to be successful, we can’t let that happen. Jake is coming along; he hit a few early to keep us in it, but I had to take him out for a rest and he couldn’t find his stroke after that.”
White actually went on another run in the third quarter, after the Trojans had slapped a box-and-one on him and gone on an 11-3 run to make it 43-29 with 3:20 left in the stanza. He sank three 3-pointers in a row to close out the third, which ended with Cortland up 54-33, and then scored on a layup 15 seconds into the fourth to make it a 23-point game.
That gave him 36 points, and he added one more trey for good measure moments before leaving the game for well-deserved rest and acclaim from the crowd.
“To be honest, I didn’t know I had that many points,” White said when asked to reflect on his night as a whole. “I kept hitting shots, but was surprised to find that out. When I get in the zone I just think about playing, but it wouldn’t have happened without my teammates. They got me the ball; I did the easy part.”
White also had a couple of nice assists just before coming out, and noted: “The guys did a good job all game of getting me the ball, and you’ve got to reward them.”
“We had 12 turnovers in the game (to 32 for Homer), which is our lowest of the year, and they were pressuring us all night in a 1-3-1,” Lowie said. “Homer is much better than last year. They have good intensity, and their offense is good — they gave us some trouble trying to stay matched up with them. That’s the most points we’ve given up in three games.” CHS had surrendered 30 points to Mexico and 29 to Chittenango last week in a pair of home victories.
“We weren’t sure coming in what they had, and thought that maybe they’d come out in a half-court game and make us push up the tempo. They didn’t, which was good for us.”
“We did a good job from the free throw line (12-for-18) and hit the most 3-pointers (seven) we’ve gotten in a game this season,” said Luchsinger, whose team is now 4-5 overall. “We also played good, hard defense without fouling.”
The Trojans were whistled just seven times in the game, with seven different players collecting one foul apiece, while Cortland committed 15 fouls.
“Al I ask the kids to do it work,” Luchsinger said. “Our motto is ‘Try to get better ever day,’ and I want the kids to come to practice and work hard. I think they’re doing that.”
Cortland out-rebounded Homer 39-29; in addition to White’s eight boards, Walrath and Jack Wood added six apiece. Pittman led the winners in assists with four. No individual stats were available for Homer.
CHS shot 41 percent from the floor in the game (31-for-75), while Homer went 13-for-34 (38 percent).
The Purple Tigers are now off until next week, when they host their own holiday tournament Wednesday (facing Ithaca at 7:30 p.m.) and Thursday (against either Chenango Forks or Maine-Endwell). Lowie said he was giving his team today off, and noted that “It’s good to have some time off. These kids have been working hard and there’s been a lot of improvement. It will also be good for Tom Wilk, who wasn’t back to 100 percent with his left ankle before he had to leave tonight.”
The 6-8 senior center landed on another player’s foot after blocking a shot early in the fourth, and left the game for good.
Homer hosts Fulton on Friday and Fabius-Pompey a week from today.
CORTLAND JVs rolled to a 77-41 win over Homer to improve to 5-1 as Kevin Shaw led the way with 24 points, including three-3-pointers, and Trevor Williamson added 14. Kane Hartnett had 13 points for Homer, now 4-3.    


Cortland tandem tough on Trojans

Staff Writer

To be successful, a team needs a player or two to step up when things are not going the best that they can.
Fawn Lolar and Natalie Khazzaka were those players Tuesday night as the dynamic duo helped propel visiting Cortland High to a 60-44 OHSL Freedom Division basketball victory over Homer.
“It was a nice win because everyone got to play,” said Cortland coach Dick Penoyer. “Our problem in the first quarter was that we missed too many easy shots. We talked about our play at halftime. I told the girls they just needed to relax and play their game. We did that in the second half and that was the difference.”
Lolar scored eight of her 16 points in the second quarter to help the Purple Tigers (5-1 league, 7-1 overall) maintain a 28-21 halftime advantage. Khazzaka scored nine points and was devastating all over the court with 12 rebounds, five steals, four assists and two blocks.
“I did everything for my Mom,” said Lolar. “She just came back from surgery. I also knew we had to win this game because it was against our rival. The intensity that the team showed helped to pump me up. As I started making some shots, it increased my intensity at both ends of the floor.”
“Fawn was one of the X factors in the game,” said Penoyer. “Homer had trouble staying with her, She started to make things happen, along with Deanna (Bishop).”
After an 11-5 lead in the first quarter, Cortland put the clamps on the Homer offense, holding the Trojans scoreless for over five minutes. The Purple Tigers built their advantage to 18-5 as Lolar converted an easy basket off a Shannon Finucane pass with three minutes left in the half.
Homer (2-2, 3-4) broke the scoring drought when Hillary Simon scored in the paint. With the lid off the basket, the Trojans closed out the half with 14 more points from five different players. Ashley Brown netted five points, Meghan Finn three, and two each from Vickie Smith, Simon and Gabby Luety.
Lolar netted all her eight second-quarter points during a 90-second stretch in the final three minutes of the half to keep her team in front.
Cortland pulled away in the third quarter with a 16-2 run over the first 5:35 of the quarter for a 44-23 cushion. After a Lolar bucket, the Purple Tigers used balanced scoring from all five starters to pull away. Lolar and Amanda Lawlor each pulled down eight rebounds for the visitors.
“We picked up our defensive intensity in the second half,” said Penoyer. “Shannon, Amanda and Natalie all played good games for us.”
Homer got some good looks, but could not make a shot. After shooting 7-for-19 (37 percent) in the first half, the Trojans went 2-for-13 from the field (15 percent) in the third quarter. Stephanie Hartquist scored a two-pointer and 3-pointer in the quarter as part of her 11-point, 11-rebound night.
Both coaches emptied their benches during the fourth quarter.
 “We did not come out as mentally tough in the second half,” said Homer coach Brenda Nobles. “Cortland came out very aggressively with their half-court press. We did not handle as well as we should have, but we did do a good job against their full-court press in the first half. We also did alright against their man-to-man defense. We turned the ball over too many times and struggled shooting the ball.”
Finucane led the Purple Tigers with 18 points while Ashley Brown paced the Trojans with 18 points of her own thanks to four 3-pointers and a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw stripe. Each player added five steals each for their respective teams.
For the night, Cortland shot 35 percent (22-for-62) while Homer shot 30 percent (15-for-50). Other key factors were 24 Trojan turnovers and a 41-36 Purple Tiger edge in rebounding.
Cortland High will return to action December 27 against Malone at 5 p.m. in the first round of the Oswego Holiday Tournament.
Homer will return to action Thursday when the Trojans travel to Fulton to close out the pre-holiday portion of their schedule. JV play will tip-off at 5:30 p.m.
HOMER JVs picked up their first win of the season with a 32-20 win over the Cortland JVs Tuesday.
Ashley Crossway led the Homer (1-5 overall) attack with 11 points. Rachello Holl broke out of her scoring slump with eight points while Kate VanVankenburg netted six points and grabbed 12 points.
Christine Gutchess led Cortland (0-6) with six points while Moly Bramschreiber netted four points.



Eagles erupt in 2nd

Other than one period, the Cortland-Homer hockey team’s CNYSHL Division II West contest against visiting Central Square was even.
That one period — the second — told the tale, however, as the Golden Eagles scored five times in that 15-minute span for a 5-0 victory at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex.
All five goals came from the winners’ first line, Steve Stowell leading the way with three goals and two assists while Taylor Brown had a goal and four assists and Paul Zimmerman a goal, and three assists.
C-H improved to 4-2 in league play and 5-2 overall. Central Square, a first-year squad, has yet to taste victory in five league games and eight contests overall.
“In some ways we played well, getting off 51 shots wile Central Square had a total of 14,” Cortland-Homer coach Don Armstrong said. “They were short-handed, with several players out because of illness, and you have to give credit to their goaltender, Eric Whipple, who played the entire game and made many point-blank saves.”
Whipple stopped 46 Golden Eagles shots in all.
“Although we generated a good deal of offensive pressure, we still have trouble completing our plays,” added Armstrong. “We also need offensive production out of our second line, and they didn’t create a lot of scoring chances off of their own pressure tonight. Defensively, Vic Marchetti (who also had an assist) and Dan Farris had a good game, showing good puck movement and fairly aggressive play in the neutral zone. All three goaltenders — Brian Frankel, Brett Kash and Matt Everts — played one period and generated a combined shutout.”
Frankel (first period) and Kash (second) stopped four shots apiece, while Everts made six saves in the third.
Brown opened the scoring 1:15 into the second period off a rebound of a shot by Stowell, who in turn had taken a pass from Marchetti. Stowell made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 2:46, off a miss by Brown after a pass from Zimmerman. The hosts’ final three goals came in a span of 3:03, Stowell scoring at 11:20 and 14:23 (also on the power play) while Zimmerman made it 4-0 at 11:33, just 13 seconds after Stowell’s second goal.
“The first line certainly showed they can pass the puck and did create a number of other scoring chances without result,” Armstrong said. “We now have a couple of days so prepare for Skaneateles (on the road) this Friday night. They are always a very tough opponent, especially in their rink.”
After Friday the Golden Eagles will be off for a week, meeting Suffern at 8 p.m. on Dec. 29 in the first round of their own holiday tournament at the Sports Complex. Depending on the result of that contest they will face either Canandaigua Academy (coached by Armstrong’s brother Jim) or Cazenovia the next day, starting at either 11:30 a.m. or 2 p.m.       




Showdown next for Dryden boys

SOUTHPORT — Tim Finnerty led four Dryden High players into double figures with 16 points as the Purple Lions made a huge Interscholastic Athletic Conference Division I statement Tuesday.
The visiting Purple Lions defeated Elmira Notre Dame 60-44 in Southport to set-up a first-place basketball showdown on their home court Friday night with undefeated Watkins Glen. Dryden is 5-0 against IAC foes, 6-0 overall.
Watkins Glen (5-0) rolled to a 67-34 victory over Newark Valley.
In other IAC boys play, Groton dumped Moravia 72-58, Union Springs walloped Marathon 64-39, Trumansburg tripped Waverly 70-49, Lansing crushed Southern Cayuga 78-44, Elmira Heights Edison edged Spencer-Van Etten 60-54, Candor clipped Odessa-Montour 54-49 and Newfield topped Tioga 63-43.
In IAC girls hoop action, Marathon downed Union Springs 46-42, Groton edged Moravia 47-44, Elmira Notre Dame dumped Dryden 52-26, Candor clipped Odessa-Montour 65-49, Waverly whipped Trumansburg 58-26, Lansing stopped Southern Cayuga 67-57, Newfield nipped Tioga 44-40, Newark Valley edged Watkins Glen 39-36 and Elmira Heights Edison stopped Spencer-Van Etten 58-36.
Dryden 60, Elmira Notre Dame: “The guys went to a whole new level,” said Dryden coach Dan Miller. “This was definitely a big win for us.
“We were down in the first half, but we did some tweaking at half,” Miller added. “Our offense picked up in the second half and our defense did another solid job of shutting the opponent down. We came back  thanks to a couple of nice runs.”
Notre Dame led 9-6 after the first quarter and 26-22 at the halftime break, but the Purple Lions roared to life in the third quarter with a 20-8 spurt. The visitors continued to pull away in the fourth quarter.
In addition to Finnerty, Josh Horton, Jordan Minnis and Rob Solveson each netted 10 points for the winners.
Chris Wood paced the Crusaders with 11 points.