By Jeff DiVeronica
Democrat and Chronicle
(March 2, 2003) — Kenny Wilson held the
Section V Class AA championship game in his hands twice Saturday night, and in
a matter of about 30 minutes the East High senior went from goat to hero.
With the score tied and 15 seconds left in regulation, Wilson missed two free
throws that could have sent second-seeded Fairport home.
"I told myself that I had to make up for it (in overtime)," he said.
Given a shot at redemption, Wilson came through and it was in an even tougher
This time, with four seconds left in OT, East trailed by a point. But Wilson,
a 65-percent shooter, swished the first free throw to tie it, then rolled in
the second and the fifth-seeded Orientals went on to win a thriller, 60-58, in
the nightcap at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.
It is the school’s sectional-record 19th title and first since 1996.
"After I made the first one, I knew the second one was going in," said Wilson,
whose fateful shots were the result of a blocking foul called on Fairport that
could have gone either way.
"You always like to have the kids decide it," Fairport coach Scott Fitch said.
"But I thought the officiating was good all night."
East (15-8) plays Class A champion and nationally ranked McQuaid (23-0) in
Wednesday’s 8:45 p.m. state tournament qualifier at the arena. The Orientals
lost to McQuaid twice during the City-Catholic League season. Fairport, which
also lost in last year’s title game, finished 19-4.
"That one was for coach," second-year Orientals coach Darrell Barley said,
referring to the late Sal Rizzo, his coach at East. "I don’t know if we’ve
played our best game yet, but I tell you what -- these guys aren’t quitters."
With a starting lineup that included two sophomores and freshman Keion Mitchem
for a good part of the season, East endured. Junior Rodney Westbrook (13
points), Wilson (12), sophomore Nate Brumfield (all 11 after halftime) and
sophomore William Jackson (10) led the Orientals.
Junior forward Ryan McAdam scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half to
carry Fairport, which also got 16 points from Adam Wale and 11 points and 10
rebounds from center Eric Snider.
Jackson’s free throws at 1:19 gave East the lead, but McAdam’s reverse layup
knotted it at 53. Wilson had a chance to win it, but missed the two free
throws with 15 seconds left. Fairport also had a look, but Wale’s wing
3-pointer missed and McAdam couldn’t convert a putback as time expired.