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01/25/03 Revenge is sweet for R-H

Defense ignites victory over league rival Fairport

By James Johnson
Democrat and Chronicle

(January 25, 2003) — HENRIETTA — After all of the screaming was over, Sheldon Brown sat down and calmly had a snack inside the Rush-Henrietta locker room.

It was a piece of cake for the senior swingman, who scored a high school career-best 27 points to lead Rush-Henrietta to a 69-58 win over Fairport on Friday.

Brown, Rush-Henrietta’s leading scorer with 13 points a game, added 10 rebounds, 6 steals and 5 assists during a sweet Monroe County League victory for the Royal Comets.

Rush-Henrietta (9-1 league, 13-1 overall) has the inside track to winning the league’s Division I title after it avenged a 41-39 loss to Fairport on Dec. 14.

“We were disappointed because that was our first loss,” Brown said after about 1,500 screaming fans emptied out of the Rush-Henrietta gymnasium. “We had to prove that we would have more heart (this time).

JAMIE GERMANO

Fairport’s Michael Clay looks for an outlet against the triple-team pressure of Rush-Henrietta’s Tim Jackson, left, Alex Davis and Aaron Poles on Friday night. R-H won, 69-58, to gain the inside track for the division title.

“It was an important game and we had a lot of people here.”

The Royal Comets turned the tables with defense.

Rush-Henrietta harassed Fairport (7-2, 13-2) into a season-high 30 turnovers, 12 in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Royal Comets scored 25 points in that quarter, including a 17-3 run that put them ahead 32-20 with 4:20 remaining in the first half.

“We didn’t take care of the ball at all,” Fairport point guard Adam Wale said. “The crowd got to us I guess.”

The Rush-Henrietta sections rooted on Brown, who scored 15 of his points in the first half. Brown helped put Rush-Henrietta’s push in the second quarter into high gear with two steals and a 3-pointer.

“I started to get into a rhythm toward the end of the first quarter,” Brown said. “I knew I could shoot the ball, but I had to get warmed up by playing good defense and I began to lose the nervousness.”

Rush-Henrietta also received key contributions from freshman reserve Calvin Betts. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound forward had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“I did a lot better this time around,” Betts said. “I rebounded better. I shot better, I was into it. The Comet Crazies got us so hyped.”

Fairport’s effort to protect the ball wasn’t helped by foul trouble for Wale. He sat for five minutes in the second quarter with three.

“They set the tone early,” Fairport coach Scott Fitch said. “(Turnovers) are what feeds them and they scored on a lot of them.”

E-mail address: jjohnson@DemocratandChronicle.com