The Blackwell Blog

Tough to be unbeaten

In a five-day stretch, college basketball's four remaining undefeated teams - Wyoming, then Oregon, then Duke, then Michigan - all took their first losses. Indiana 1975-76 might be safe forever as the last NCAA Division I side to go all the way without a blemish.

So it was only fitting that, on the same weekend, Cortland and South Jefferson's boys basketball teams, plus Rome Free Academy's hockey side, all fell for the first time. It assures that no one in Section III boys hoops or pucks will go unbeaten.

Of course, in girls basketball, you've still got South Jefferson, Westhill, Holland Patent, Fabius-Pompey, Little Falls and Oriskany sporting perfect marks. J-D did, too, before CBA stopped that on Friday night.

It's just difficult to do, folks. You can have the easiest schedule, or the most talent on hand, and still there will be nights where you don't have your best game or that the other team is sublime.

Plenty of luck and good health is involved, too, as Sackets Harbor's unbeaten 2011-12 state champs will tell you. The Patriots barely won a classic Class D sectional final over defending state champ New York Mills, and Mike Adey and every Marauders fan will tell you that if point guard Jake Kehrli was 100 percent and not coming back from a torn ACL, well....

In all honesty, though, it's a burden to maintain a perfect mark, so letting it go in mid-season is perfectly okay, for the larger goals are still ahead.

Cortland can attest to that fact. True, the Purple Tigers lost that Friday showdown with Bishop Ludden, but the fact that they were down 18 and nearly made it all the way back, on the road, shows that Cortland can beat Ludden if they meet again in a neutral setting.

Boy, is Class A looking interesting. You've got at least four solid contenders with Ludden, Cortland, New Hartford and back-at-full-strength J-D, who is tearing it up now that Jeff Edwards is on the court. Even Carthage demands a look after it knocked off South Jefferson.

We're also heading toward a BIG week in Class AA boys hoops. West Genesee's takedowns of Utica Proctor and Liverpool gives them lots of momentum going into Tuesday's showdown with F-M. As that goes on, Henninger hosts red-hot C-NS, and you have to think the Hornets and Black Knights are glad to have these tests, so they can't possibly look ahead to Friday's "Hornets' Nest" cacophony.

Westhill, with all their impressive road wins, have to be the Class B boys favorite now, since no one else, with the possible exception of Syracuse Academy of Science, is showing much consistency. Skaneateles went from getting blown out at home to Solvay to blowing out Bishop Grimes, and Cazenovia, who started fast, went 0-2 last week.

There's just too much to gather in Class C, with Mohawk, West Canada, Tully, Fabius-Pompey, Thousand Islands and Beaver River all making legitimate cases as championship contenders. It's simpler in Class D, where New York Mills sets the pace.

Moving to the girls side, on the surface Skaneateles was quite happy to beat Bishop Grimes, but nearly blowing a 12-point lead in the final minute was downright bizarre. And this week there's Caz getting Grimes and Utica-Notre Dame hosting the Juggler Classic, where the visiting teams include C-NS, who is still quite good.

Actually, more than quite good. Try downright scary. The Northstars gave up 41 combined points against Baldwinsville and Central Square, which has to make the rest of the Class AA crowd nervous. For star power, there was Westhill's Anna Ross surpassing 1,000 career points and CBA, before the big win over J-D, seeing Julie Cuomo drop 35 on Cortland.

So much is going on. There's the ice, where Baldwinsville, with four straight wins, and West Genesee, getting Robbie Michel back, are ready to challenge F-M and Syracuse in a fierce Division I West race. And CBA/J-D is red-hot, winners of seven in a row after rallying past first-place Oswego , giving the Division II race a jolt as the Brothers next get Skaneateles, who is playing well, too.

Clinton swept the Center State Conference indoor track meets on Friday, just after F-M did the same in the George Constantino Invitational. Canastota wrestling star Zach Zupan won his division at the Eastern States Invitational, just as Baldwinsville capped off a big week by taking the Cazenovia Invitational and Camden earned first place in the CNY Tournament at VVS.

There was volleyball, where ESM claimed a five-set classic over Chittenango, and Jordan-Elbridge did some wonderful fund-raising with Weedsport. And bowling, where Oswego's Matt Clemons threw a 300 against Central Square.

And at last there was swimming, where on back-to-back days Liverpool, still unbeaten, set all sorts of season-best times in dismissing C-NS as West Genesee knocked off Auburn to set up a showdown this Friday between the Wildcats and Warriors.

You guessed it, the Maroons were undefeated. That theme just keeps popping up


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