CENTRAL NEW YORK – Over the years, one constant for the East Syracuse Minoa boys basketball team, in good and bad times, was the rivalry it slowly built with its neighbors from Jamesville-DeWitt.
Most of the time, the Red Rams got the best of it, but in last Tuesday’s clash it was the Spartans, breaking a pattern of dropping close games, pulling it out in the end by a score of 60-58.
Already this season, ESM had lost three games by four points or less. Meanwhile, J-D, after an 0-4 start, had won three in a row and, for a while, looked like it would continue to roll against the Spartans.
The Rams led 18-10 after one quarter and continued to play solid defense the rest of the half, ultimately going to the break with a 32-21 advantage.
Then ESM began to turn it around, chipping away at the margin until, in the final minutes, it was able to catch up and pass J-D, the key to the comeback a nice scoring balance.
Cole Thomas led with 14 points, with Tristan Henderson adding 12 points. A.J. Graham and Anthony Bryant also got into double figures, earning 11 points apiece.
Meanwhile, though J-D had 23 points from Anthony Stickle and 16 points from Trent Hughes, no one else had more than A.J. Sumida’s total of six points.
Perhaps there was a bit of a letdown for ESM as, two nights later, it faced Central Square and took a 53-42 defeat to the Redhawks.
Steadily, Central Square built its advantage throughout the night, led by Trevor Boyce and Cameron Bownall with 14 points apiece. No one on the Spartans could match that production, though Henderson and Tyler Quarry each got 11 points and Thomas had seven points.
Trying to bounce back Friday against Oswego, J-D did so in an emphatic way, outscoring the Buccaneers 41-22 over the course of the second and third quarters on the way to a 66-45 victory.
Again Stickle paced the Rams’ offense, pouring in 25 points, but he got lots of help from Hughes, who improved to 19 points as Eamon Giblin contributed eight points.
On Saturday, ESM hosted reigning sectional Class B champion Chittenango on the day where it honored its latest group of Athletic Hall of Fame members.
Despite the occasion, the Spartans lost, 78-55, to the Bears, who got 28 points from Ryan Moesch and 25 points from Alex Moesch to negate a well-blanced ESM attack where Graham (15 points), Thomas (14 points) and Quarry (11 points) all reached double figures.
J-D played again on Saturday at Fulton and, making it five wins in six outings, defeated the Red Raiders 64-53 to finally climb to the .500 mark at 5-5.
Building a 32-23 lead by halftime, the Rams were led by Hughes, who blazed past his career mark and burned Fulton for 32 points, helped by Stickle and Alan Zanders earning 11 points apiece.