Having a Jamesville-DeWitt basketball team start out as a defending Section III Class A champion is an old story. But having two of them as defending champions is something new.
Both the girls and boys Red Rams would start 2012-13 with winning efforts on Friday night, as J-D's girls prevailed at East Syracuse-Minoa 43-32 while, back home, the boys cruised past Mexico 61-42.
What aids the girls Rams, who ended a 14-year championship drought when it beat Cortland in last March's sectional title game at the Carrier Dome, is the return of senior standouts Cydney Goodrum and Kayleigh Cavanaugh.
J-D's approach, though, remains the same. Head coach Rob Siechen preaches constant, relentless, in-your-face defense that rarely allows an opponent breathing space, something ESM certainly knows about from their twice-a-season battles in the OHSL Freedom division.
So it was again on this night. Despite two early fouls, Goodrum still had 10 of her 14 points in the first half, and with the Rams' defense again effective, that was as much as the entire Spartans squad as J-D led by as much as 13 before taking a 22-10 edge to the break.
Briefly, ESM appeared to have a chance to get close, pulling within seven, 22-15, early in the third quarter as Goodrum picked up her third foul and went to the bench.
Here, though, J-D's attack, inconsistent and unable to make much from the outside, stepped up for the only time all night. Ariel Mussi, a defensive standout, had six points in an 11-0 run where J-D had eight points in the span of a minute.
That was more than enough, as the Spartans, under intense pressure, could not exploit an eight-minute Rams scoring drought that stretched deep into the fourth quarter, though center Gabby Eure led both sides with 16 points and Stephanie Edmonds added eight points.