The DeRuyter Central School gymnasium had a playoff feel Tuesday night as the Rockets boys’ varsity basketball team played host to rival McGraw with the Central Counties League title hanging in the balance.
Undefeated DeRuyter entered the game ranked second in New York state’s latest Class D rankings with a 17-0 record and 10-0 mark in the CCL. McGraw was 10-1 in league play and 11-5 overall.
When the night ended, the Rockets were still unbeaten after an 83-58 victory over the Eagles and DeRuyter was the CCL champion with a two-game lead in the standings and just one game remaining in league play.
In another CCL boys’ contest, Brookfield nipped Cincinnatus 58-56.
DeRuyter 83, McGraw 58: “This was a highly anticipated game for both towns,” DeRuyter coach Ric Barnes said. “The atmosphere was fun for the kids. The gym had a crowd that has not been seen since the sectional games last year. There were folks from all over Central New York here to watch the rivalry.”
It was a wild first quarter and that just set the tone for the night as DeRuyter jumped out to a 10-2 lead, but McGraw regrouped quickly. Caleb Smith scored nine points for McGraw and Evan Ignatowski buried a pair of 3-pointers to finish with eight points in the quarter as the Eagles jumped out to a 21-20 lead. Tristan Worlock countered with eight points for the Rockets with three other players each contributed four points for the home team.
Worlock began the second quarter quickly for DeRuyter with six more points, but picked up his third foul and spent the rest of the first half on the bench. The Rockets could have been concerned, but Riley Glisson and Trey Foster took charge while the entire team’s defense tighten up. Glisson scored seven points in the quarter and Foster had six points as the Rockets poured in 28 points while holding McGraw to just 11 points. The turn of events gave DeRuyter a 48-32 lead at halftime.
DeRuyter kept the hammer down in the third quarter with another 24 points as the Rockets lead ballooned to 72-45. With the winner not in doubt, the fourth quarter was academic as DeRuyter improved to 11-0 in league play and 18-0 overall.
Glisson and Foster each finished with 17 points. Worlock netted 14 points, all in the first half. Benjamin Barnes added 11 points with Gavin Richardson and Frank Glisson each ending the night with 10 points in the balanced scoring effort for the Rockets.
“The unity and brotherhood is something special to see and be involved with,” Coach Barnes said. “There seems to be a different leader each night and they all accept their roles on the team. Being able to count on the whole team to contribute something each game has made for a pretty successful season. It is fun to be a part of each player’s growth both personally and in team contribution.”
Caleb Smith scored a game high 23 points for McGraw (10-2 league, 11-6 overall), but he was the only Eagle in double figures. Xiao Lin and Ignatowski each finished with eight points and Nick Potter netted six points.
DeRuyter will close out the league portion of its season Friday with a 7 p.m. game at Cincinnatus. The regular season finale will be Saturday in a non-league home contest at 5:30 p.m. against Cato-Meridian.
McGraw has three non- league games left on its regular season schedule. The first of those games is Saturday against Hamilton at 5 p.m. inside Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena.
The DeRuyter JV boys wrapped up their own CCL title Tuesday with a 67-52 victory over McGraw. The Rockets took an 18-10 lead in the first quarter and pulled out to a 40-19 advantage by halftime.
Justin Foster led the DeRuyter attack with 18 points. Ryder Forrest added 17 points and Camren Daley netted 12 points for the Rockets.
Quintin Burdick scored a game high 22 points for McGraw. Nate Stiles pitched in with 11 points and Nolan Knickerbocker had eight points.
Brookfield 58, Cincinnatus 56: Kodie Abrams drove the lane and scored with 1.6 seconds remaining in regulation time to give Brookfield the 58-56 victory over a stubborn Cincinnatus team.
Brookfield (6-5 league, 7-10 overall) would take a 15-9 lead in the first quarter, but Cincinnatus (2-7 league, 3-14 overall) caught fire in the second quarter and bolted in front 28-20 by halftime. Scott Schuyler netted 15 points in the first half to aid the Lions’ effort.
“Our defense was outstanding in that second quarter and we just hawked the ball,” Cincinnatus coach Jim Halstrom said. “We also rebounded the ball in the quarter as well as we had in a few games. When Scott is hot like that, it sure helps Kooper (Vosburg) to get the ball in a good position offensively. Cason (Stafford) was able to get some good looks, too.”
Cincinnatus padded its lead in the third quarter and headed into the fourth quarter with a 44-32 cushion. Brookfield regrouped and slowly picked away at the Lions’ lead in the fourth quarter.
With 50 seconds left, Cincinnatus held a 55-54 advantage, but Abrams stole the ball and scored as Brook eld took its first lead since the second quarter at 56-55. Trent Streichert was fouled with 15 seconds remaining and he made one of two free throws for the Lions to tie the game at 56-56. That set the stage for Abrams’ game winning effort as Brook eld led when it mattered most. Abrams finished with 21 points.
“As tough as this game was to lose the way we did, our guys showed a lot of grit and toughness,” Halstrom said. “We played a bit sloppy in that fourth quarter. I think we did get a bit fatigued and that is on me. Our decision making wasn’t the best at times either and that is a true characteristic of a young team. We’re all learning and this was a good lesson for all of us. I’m proud of the progress these young men have made since November.”
Schuyler netted 22 points for Cincinnatus. Stafford added 15 points while Streichert and Vosburg each scored eight points. Vosburg added 12 rebounds for the Lions. Stafford grabbed six rebounds and recorded six steals while Schuyler had five assists.
In addition to Friday’s game with DeRuyter, Cincinnatus will travel to Otselic Valley Monday for a 6 p.m. CCL contest.