SPARTANS SPEED-DEPTH-TOO MUCH FOR COMETS TO HANDLE-NEW HARTFORD 57 CARTHAGE 43
Spartan Nation Celebration!
That’s what it looked like from our court-side vantage point at the SRC Arena in Syracuse on Sunday night.
The Henderson twins, Jared and Jordan, did their best Roadrunner impersonations and the Carthage Comets played the part of Wylie Coyote as they chased and chased the high-flying Hendersons and the rest of the red-hot New Hartford Spartans, all to no avail.
When the last meep…meep was heard as a Henderson sped by, the Spartans had earned a spot in the Section 3 Class A title tilt against the Gaelic Knights from Bishop Ludden on Sunday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
When the dust settled, New Hartford had raced to a 57-43 win over the Class A #1 seed Carthage Comets.
The win over the tourney’s highest seed propels New Hartford (17-3), the # 4 seed, to a showdown against the second seeded (18-2) Bishop Ludden Gaelic Knights.
It should be a high-wire act on big playing surface at the Dome.
The Henderson’s speed and let’s call it twins intuition, left fans starring in amazement at the lighting quick passes that the brothers helped each other turn into a combined total of 35 points.
Jordan went off for 18 big ones and Jared 17 to help pace the Spartans to the big win.
The Spartans trailed by three points, 27-24, after one half of play but coach John Randall had an ace card in the hole, yet to play.
The Spartans are a deep, talented bunch, a group that shares the ball and a unit that prides itself on the concept of team chemistry.
You don’t have to grade on a curve to give the Spartans an A+ in team Chemistry.
This formula allows coach Randall the option of running out fresh players in different combinations and not worrying about a drop off in the level of play.
Against a talented but thin team like the Carthage Comets, the wear and tear of chasing Jared, Jordan and the rest of the speedy Spartans, became way too much for the Comets to handle.
As the Spartans started to seize control of this semifinal matchup it was easy to see just how worn down the Comets had become.
A sure sign of a tired team is watching a player like Walter Jeter bend down to catch his breath during a timeout and tug on the end of his uniform shorts. When that happens look out.
It was a back and forth affair for the first sixteen minutes of play. Carthage went stride for stride with New Hartford and looked good doing so.
So good that the Comets led 14-13 after one Peyton McLaurin, the Comets top gun, got off to a quick start scoring eight first quarter points and 14 in the first half to lead his team and keep Carthage on top.
McLaurin is silky smooth and can play on my team anytime. The problem is that McLaurin was shut down completely in the second half by the Spartans, who take just as much pride in their defensive prowess as they do their offensive firepower.
Just watch guys like Tom Clifford, Vinny Maugeri and Mark Chanarty d-up and you will know what I mean.
Jared Henderson and Mark Chanatry made sure the second half mattered scoring 10 and five points respectively as the Spartans looked to find their stride.
It was a nip-and-tuck battle until Jordan Henderson took the game and grabbed it by the throat scoring 12 straight points from the middle of the third quarter into the fourth to give New Hartford a ten point lead with under seven minutes to play.
The defensive pressure the hungry Spartans applied during the tide turning run didn’t hurt as New Hartford held the Comets to just five points in the third quarter.
New Hartford took the lead 28-27 with 6:19 left in the third when Jordan Henderson raced up-court and banked one in off glass. The Spartans never trailed again as the Comets started to fade.
Walter Jeter tired to keep his team competitive scoring nine of his thirteen points in the second half. Jeter’s efforts proved to be too little to late as the Spartans express sped past.
A three-point play to end the third by Jordan Henderson helped push the Spartans lead to seven 39-32 as the third quarter came to a close.
Another three-point play by Jordan gave New Hartford a commanding double-digit lead 42-32 with 7:13 to play.
Tom Clifford got into the act draining a long three to bring the Spartans faithful to their feet to cheer their 50-39 lead with 3:10 left in the game.
From there the Spartans played keep away and coasted home with a convincing confidence building 56-43 win.
Another key to the New Hartford win stemmed from the fact that Carthage sharpshooter Andrew Smith, who came into the game with a team-high forty-one threes, was held to just one point in the game.
Carthage, ranked 22nd in the state, finished the year 18-2. New Hartford also snapped the Comets’ 16-game win streak.
New Hartford 56 Carthage 43
1 2 3 4 Total
Carthage 14 13 5 11 43
New Hartford 13 11 18 15 56