March 9-15, 2006
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
3-Point Shooting Carries CBA Past Mexico for A-1 Title
Through 32 minutes of basketball, Mexico steadfastly stuck to its 2-3 zone and that was just fine with Christian Brothers Academy. The CBA varsity girls basketball team’s perimeter shooting carried it to a 56-50 victory over Mexico in the Section 3 Class A-1 final Tuesday night at Le Moyne College.
Amanda Billy scored five 3-pointers and Kayla Struman delivered two, while Caitlin Carrick and Sarah Paulus had one apiece in the top-seeded Brothers’ victory over No. 3-seed Mexico. During the regular season, CBA split with the Tigers, defeating them 55-43 in the first meeting at home and then falling 44-43 at Mexico High School.
CBA coach John Niland said that his team struggled against Mexico’s zone during the loss, which was just one of two suffered during the regular season, but that his squad was better prepared this time around. “We had trouble against it the last time but we’ve had time to practice against the zone,” he said. CBA was not only prolific from 3-point range, but also able to use the three to stifle the Tigers’ momentum when they did rally. Mexico trailed 42-34 going into the fourth quarter when it mustered a run that seriously threatened the Brothers’ lead. After CBA conceded six unanswered points to cut its lead to 42-40, Paulus hit two free throws and Billy and Struman countered a lay-up by Mexico’s Kristina Lavery with two threes. Both threes curbed Mexico’s momentum and gave the Brothers a decisive cushion during the game’s final moments.
“They [CBA’s players] are good shooters and we practice it a lot,” Niland said with little elaboration. The two teams exchanged leads twice in the first quarter with the Brothers’ accuracy on the perimeter making up for the Tigers’ superior presence inside. Billy set the tone early with a three. CBA got another 3-pointer from the unlikely source of defensive specialist Caitlin Carrick and Paulus hit her only three of the game in the first quarter. Mexico’s Evie Josbena closed out the period’s scoring with a baseline jumper that cut CBA’s lead to 16-12. CBA’s 3-point shooting continued to buffer its lead in the second quarter. With her team behind 20-12, Mexico’s Danni Polchlopek scored four points on back-to-back field goals. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Billy parried with two threes to improve CBA’s lead to a 10-point margin.
Mexico waited until the third quarter to mount its most serious challenge. Josbena opened the session with a turnaround jump shot and Kristina Lavery drew contact on a lay-up. When she converted the free throw, Mexico trailed 42-37. Niland called a timeout but Mexico’s Abby Smith welcomed the Brothers back to the court with a three from the top of the key. But that rally wasn’t enough to take back the lead as CBA regained its form. Facing a 50-42 deficit with under two minutes left to play, the Tigers finally emerged from their 2-3 zone and employed a fullcourt press. CBA — which plays a fullcourt, man-to-man game night in and night out — found it all too easy to break Mexico’s press and Stroman scored a short-range jumper on a long inbounds pass. Mexico scored five unanswered points to cut CBA’s lead to 52-47 but with time running out, the Tigers were forced to foul. The Brothers were opportunistic during their trips to the free-throw line en route to assuming a 56-47 lead. Katie Holliday hit a three at the buzzer to make the final score 56-50.
Out of deference to the athletes who had executed on the court, Niland wanted to downplay the importance of playing at Le Moyne. The athletics facility at the Jesuit college is the Thomas J. Niland Athletic Complex, named for the CBA coach’s father who was the athletic director at Le Moyne. The coach said that he “made the first basket in this building.” “Winning in this building…it means a lot to me,” he said. Saturday, CBA played A-2 champion Indian River for a berth in the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association Tournament. In the crossover clash, CBA defeated the Warriors 48-43 move on. Billy led the Brothers with 22 points and Paulus had 16.
Sectional Championship Roundup
Several high school basketball teams within the Syracuse Diocese competed in sectional tournaments over the weekend. Here’s how they fared:
In the Section 4 Class B championship game, the Seton Catholic Central varsity boys basketball team held off Watkins Glen for a 48-41 victory for the Saints fourth sectional title in six years. Max Jones and Chris Furner led the Saints’ offense with 11 and 10 points respectively.
The Seton Catholic varsity girls team had a little less trouble earning their own title when the Saints stunned Windsor 55-35 in the Section 4 Class B final. Allison Curley scored 17 points to lead the Saints and Ellie Garbade chipped in 12 in the team’s second consecutive title game.
In the Section 3 Class AA final, Christian Brothers Academy’s meteoric season came to a halt when the Brothers fell to Proctor Saturday. 56-51. Mike Goodman led the Brothers with 16 points and Richie Anderson and Marcus Sales had 12 and 10 respectively.
The Bishop Ludden varsity girls basketball team succumbed to the stifling man-to-man defense of South Jefferson in the Section 3 Class B championship Saturday, falling 37-26. The win was the Spartans’ third consecutive title. Katie Sierotnik was the only Gaelic Knight to score in double figures with 10 points.
In the Section 3 Class A final, Notre Dame defeated upset-minded Indian River 53-48 in overtime Sunday. Indian River was fresh from toppling defending state champion Jamesville-DeWitt. Pete Durr paced the Jugglers’ balanced attack with 14 points and Kendrick Pollard scored 11.