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12/14/02 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 counted.




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 heroes.

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 1:14.

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.”

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