Fairport stands strong
Red Raiders hand Rush-Henrietta its first loss
By Jeff Diveronica
Democrat and Chronicle
(December 14, 2002) — PERINTON — If anyone thinks the Fairport boys
basketball team used up all its magic during last year’s surprising 18-5
season under first-year coach Scott Fitch, they weren’t at Friday night’s
game with Rush-Henrietta.
The gymnasium where fans first began chanting, “Our House” at deafening
levels last winter was rocking again, and the Red Raiders upset previously
unbeaten R-H 41-39 with clutch plays at crunch time.
“The crowd is just awesome, it’s just like last year,” said senior guard
Adam Wale (nine points), the lone returning starter.
Don’t let the score fool you. This showdown wasn’t a slow-down. The Red
Raiders didn’t derail an R-H team that ripped it first three Monroe County
opponents with a slow pace. They competed fiercely on defense, made some
mistakes on offense (22 turnovers) and came up with more plays when it
Fairport’s Mike Clay takes the high road
over Rush-Henrietta’s Kraig Coward on Friday night.
“We have to experience close games like this so
we play better in them,” said R-H coach Chris Reed, whose club (2-1, 3-1) won
its first three games by 50, 20 and 56 points.
The Comets were clearly the more talented team, but they free-lanced too much on
offense, just like last year at times, Reed said.
“Fairport’s defense also made us go out of control,” Reed said.
“It’s our organization,” said R-H senior forward Alex Davis, who was held to six
points. “We have eight people who can dunk the ball, but when you play teams
like Fairport that can hit back, it doesn’t matter.”
The Red Raiders (1-1 league, 1-2 overall), coming off a home loss to Gates
Chili, graduated five of their top six players, including All-Greater Rochester
guard Steve McDonnell. But as they learn their new roles, they’re finding new
Like Ryan McAdam, a wiry 6-foot-4 junior who knocked down consecutive jumpers
midway through the fourth quarter to tie it twice. McAdam, who averaged 11
points on the junior varsity team last season, finished with a game-high 12
points and also drew a late-game charge.
“My man was going inside a lot and helping on defense, so I was open and our
guards were penetrating and getting me the ball,” he said.
Senior Eric Snider, a backup last year, also came up with a huge basket on a
night when he scored eight points and hauled in 11 rebounds. Snider stuck back a
miss with 2 minutes, 15 seconds left for a 40-38 lead. He also took a charge at
R-H’s Sheldon Brown missed a runner and a 3-pointer that could have swung the
momentum but freshman Calvin Betts was fouled on the rebound.
He made one free throw to slice the lead to one and Wale was fouled immediately
at 17.6 seconds.
He made the first free throw, but Brown again couldn’t convert a pair of runners
and Wale made a smart swat on the rebound to send the ball back to half court.
With 3.8 seconds left and the ball on the sideline, R-H got an open look before
the horn, but Aaron Poles’ 3-pointer to win was just short.
“Rush has punished people. We noticed,” Fitch said. “But I kind of challenged
them at halftime to show them we had more heart.”