SYRACUSE Armed with its no. 5 state Class A ranking, the Jamesville-DeWitt girls basketball team would test itself against a pair of strong Class AA foes - one on the road, one at home.
In the first of those encounters, the Red Rams nearly erased an 18-point second-half deficit at Corcoran before falling to the Cougars 57-48.
It was the most points J-D had allowed all season, far exceeding the 44 it gave up in a narrow win over East Syracuse-Minoa earlier this month. And yet the Rams nearly pulled it out.
Trailing 42-24 late in the third quarter, J-D chipped away at Corcoran's lead the rest of the way, holding the Cougars without a field goal for more than nine minutes while applying full-court pressure that led to a string of turnovers.
By the time Cydney Goodrum sank a pair of free throws with 58 seconds left, the Rams' deficit was down to three, 45-42. But it would get no closer.
Fouled constantly, Corcoran's Jasmine Davis was superb at the line, making nine of the 10 free throws she attempted in the last minute, and 10 of 12 overall in the period on her way to 19 points for the night. That, plus Mary Morgan's 3-pointer at the horn, allowed the Cougars to restore its cushion.
That J-D got into this trouble was a testament to Corcoran's game plan. Right from the start, it wasn't afraid to take quick shots before the Rams' defense settled into its rhythm, and when those shots were off-target, the Cougars picked up offensive rebounds and converted, Davis earning 11 rebounds.
A 7-0 run to start the second quarter put Corcoran ahead for good, erasing J-D's 11-7 margin.
And Morgan, with four 3-pointers in the early going (she would finish with 18 points), helped the Cougars stretch its advantage, especially during a 13-2 spurt in the third period. Both Morgan and Shauntesha Bryant, who had 15 points, had key baskets.