Christian Brothers Academy’s small forwards proved to be too pesky for Cicero-North Syracuse to handle.
The Brothers received a total of 43 points from its forwards and prevented Andy Falvey and Zach Coleman from getting in gear in beating the Northstars 61-48 in last Saturday’s Class AA regional final at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.
It feels really good, said CBA coach Dave Doemel. `The kids worked really hard to get here.`
Falvey — who, at 6 feet, 10 inches tall, had a sizeable advantage over CBA’s post players — scored six points in the first quarter, but was then shut down as the Brothers (22-1) denied him from even touching the ball for long periods of time.
`It was frustrating,` said Falvey, who finished with eight points and 11 rebounds. `They put so much [defensive] pressure on our guards that it made it difficult for them to get me the ball.`
`We knew he was a big guy,` said Cancer. `We knew he would be dangerous, so we had to help out on defense and deny him the ball.`
Even with Falvey taken out of the equation, Cicero-North Syracuse (19-4) found ways to stay with CBA in the first half. Deyon Smith Jr. drained a pair of three-pointers in the second quarter, and Coleman added six points, but the Northstars still trailed 32-27 at halftime.
The reason Cicero-North Syracuse found itself down at intermission was CBA’s Max Weaver. The junior guard drained four three-pointers on his way to a 16-point first half.
Weaver cooled off in the second half, but that was OK for CBA because other players started heating up. First, it was the duo of Joe Krong and Chaz Lott — two guards from the bench who hit several key baskets during a 9-4 third-quarter run that gave the Brothers a 41-31 lead. Then, Cancer got into the act with three consecutive layups to open the fourth quarter.
`Joey Krong did a hell of a job, as did Chaz Lott,` said Doemel.
Ultimately, it was Ritter who sealed the Northstars’ fate. The senior made seven of his eight free throws in the fourth quarter to give the Brothers a 13-point victory.
`I think that’s the beauty of our team. A lot of different guys can get hot during a game,` said Doemel.
While CBA’s offense kept going, Cicero-North Syracuse was stuck in neutral in the second half thanks to an aggressive zone defense by the Brothers. The Northstars coughed up the ball several times, and their attempts to get the ball in to Falvey didn’t work out.
`I think we were looking for a spark, and it never came,` said Falvey.
`They switched to a 3-2 [zone defense], and we didn’t handle it well,` said Cicero-North Syracuse coach John Haas.
Coleman did what he could to keep the Northstars in the game, scoring nine of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter. But even with that, Cicero-North Syracuse found itself at the end of a season that included a Section III title.
`We needed a couple of breaks to get going because they’re not a team you can come back easily on,` said Haas.
Weaver scored 18 points, Ritter chipped in with 17 points and Cancer added 10 points and nine rebounds for CBA, which advances to this weekend’s state tournament in Glens Falls. The Brothers meet Section IX champion Newburgh Free Academy Saturday at 12:30 p.m.“
Associate editor/sports editor