Not Quite the Sweep
pblackwell, Sat, March 28th, 2009
So Jamesville-DeWitt could not pull off the same feat it did in 2008, claiming both the state public and Federation Class A championships in Glens Falls.
After fighting hard just to get to the Federation championship game, the Red Rams ran headlong into Long Island Lutheran in Saturday night's title game and never led once in a 68-51 defeat.
Chalk it up to many things if you like, but maybe J-D was just plain tired. It had spent so much energy in (1) getting the state public crown during last Sunday's epic with Peekskill, then (2) working past Iona Prep in the semifinals, that perhaps it had nothing left for the final act.
In both of this week's games, fouls played a much larger role, and no doubt J-D partisans are cursing striped shirts on the entire trip home.
Against Iona Prep, the trouble started with Alshwan Hymes and DaJuan Coleman both getting three fouls in the first half. Given that, it was rather amazing that J-D edged out in front 26-25 by the break after trailing most of the first half.
Yet Hymes returned and keyed a 13-2 run that closed the third quarter and put J-D ahead of the Gaels for good. He still had a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds), with Coleman adding 11 rebounds.
But one more time, it was Brandon Triche to the rescue. So often in his great J-D tenure, Triche just took over games when his team was in trouble. It was no different here, as he piled up 25 points, plus five boards and five assists as a tense battle turned into a 67-55 win.
Now the Rams had a chance to equal its 2008 Federation conquest. Except that Long Island Lutheran had different ideas.
Right from the moment LIL hit a bunch of early 3-pointers, J-D was playing catch-up. Again, foul trouble sent Hymes to the bench early, and the frustration boiled over late in the first half when both Zach Firestone and coach Bob McKenney got technical fouls.
So what was a close affair turned ugly, as LIL got 13 unanswered points and led by as much as 19. J-D would make one more spurt late in the third quarter and pull within eight, 42-34, but LIL kept cool, reclaimed control and pulled away in the end behind Tom Harris, who led with 27 points.
Triche, the newly-named Gatorade New York State Player of the Year, had just eight points in his J-D farewell, with Hymes still managing 17 points and Coleman getting 12 rebounds.
Yes, it was a sad way to end for Triche, Hymes and the other J-D seniors. However, that was just the third loss in the last two seasons, and the back-to-back public state Class A titles are safely in the history books, the ultimate monument to a team as great as any Section III has produced in recent memory.