News  > Boys' Varsity - Tops in Class A

   

02/15/03 High school boys basketball: R-H, McQuaid tops in the 'A' brackets

Other top seeds face tough tests in boys tourney

By James Johnson
Democrat and Chronicle


(February 15, 2003) — Sharing is caring at Rush-Henrietta, where the players have pulled off a significant trade.

The Royal Comets were asked before the season to exchange personal statistics for a more team-oriented style of basketball.

For one thing, coach Chris Reed decided that an eight-player rotation was the way to go with a talent-filled roster.

Rush-Henrietta has a deeper bench than even McQuaid, which is ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today and is the top seed in Class A.

“The guys have done a nice job,” Reed said. “It’s tough to sacrifice your minutes and statistics.

“It’s only human to want to be out there all of the time. A lot of these guys would be stars on other teams.”

Instead, the Royal Comets have taken turns drawing attention, won 19 of their 20 games and earned the No. 1 seed for the Section V Class AA Tournament.

Can they keep it up after the tournament tips off on Wednesday?

’’Everyone has had their time in the limelight,’’ said Alex Davis, a two-time Monroe County League All-Star forward. ‘’People are sacrificing pride, points, minutes, the list goes on and on.’’

Sheldon Brown, a 6-foot-3 senior swingman, is Rush-Henrietta’s leading scorer but fifth-best in Monroe County Division I.

Sophomore guards Tim Jackson and Ryan Henry, plus freshman forward Calvin Betts -- what a big addition he’s been at 6-feet-4, 210 pounds -- are comfortable enough on the court with the upperclassmen to contribute at crunch time.

Fairport, the No. 2 seed, is the only team to beat the Royal Comets, a road loss they avenged at home with constant defensive pressure.

’’The goal is to wear down teams,’’ Reed said. ‘’On most nights, we’re going to get them in the end.’’

It would not be the end of their season if the Royal Comets win a sectional title for the first time since 1994.

If McQuaid can win back-to-back titles, it sets up the area’s game of the year in the Class A state tournament qualifier March 5.

No one has touched or beaten McQuaid (20-0) all season, including three other nationally ranked teams.

The Knights seem to play better, notably on defense, the more hype that surrounds the game. But anyone criticizing McQuaid’s performance might be nitpicking.

Remember, last season’s Class A state finalists have an average victory margin of around 17 points.

’’We have 3,000 fans who expect us to shoot 60 percent from the floor every game,’’ McQuaid junior Matt Schwalm said. ‘’That’s where you get the pressure to live up to expectations.

’’So far, we’ve done a good job with that.’’

McQuaid’s ‘’Big Three,’’ it’s trio of Division I college-bound players, deserve the bulk of the credit.

Tyler Relph, last season’s All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year, has scored a team-high 21.1 points a game.

The 6-1 point guard, who is headed to West Virginia, can penetrate to the basket to score or make 3-pointers with regularity.

Marty O’Sullivan, a 6-7 forward who has committed to Fairfield, gives McQuaid a little bit of everything: Rebounding, steady play in the deciding moments of games and scoring (17.7).

Ryan Pettinella, a 6-8 center/forward, is strong enough to rebound and block shots consistently, in addition to the 17.3 points a game he scores.

E-mail address: jjohnson@DemocratandChronicle.com