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Democrat and Chronicle

Unbeaten R-H fends off Fairport for title

By James Johnson
Staff writer

(March 7, 2004) — When the Rush-Henrietta Royal Comets needed a kick-start, it was a sophomore who did the job.

A strong fourth quarter by Calvin Betts allowed Rush-Henrietta to claim the Section V Class AAA title with a 62-52 win over Fairport at Blue Cross Arena on Saturday.

The Royal Comets (21-0) built a 19-point lead in the third quarter and watched most of it evaporate.

Betts stepped in, scored nine of his 15 points, grabbed key rebounds and came up with a steal in the fourth quarter.

“He plays physical and he pushed us around a little bit,’’ said Fairport coach Scott Fitch. “We just couldn’t keep him off the boards.’’

The 6-foot-4 forward finished with 10 rebounds and scored on 6 of 7 shooting, including a 3-pointer.

DANESE KENON staff photographer
Rush-Henrietta teammates Joe Sargent, right, and Ben Nichols celebrate their 62-52 win over Fairport in the Class AAA championship Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena.

“I was just trying to work hard and grab rebounds,” said Betts, who was named All-Greater Rochester as a freshman. “This is a great feeling for us. We’re the first Rush-Henrietta team to go undefeated during the regular season and win a sectional title.

“I’ve been here twice (once as a Lyons eighth-grader) and got beat both times in the semifinals.’’

Ryan Henry, a junior guard, was named the tournament MVP after he scored a team-high 17 points for the Royal Comets. Henry was 6 of 13 shooting from the field.

It was his third 3-pointer that pushed Rush-Henrietta to a 43-24 lead early in the third quarter.

“It’s a dream come true, but it’s not about me,’’ said Henry, about his award. “We had to work as one to get the win. We worked hard for this and deserve it. It all started after last season, getting up early to do drills.’’

The largest portion of the day’s six-game attendance of 12,990 watched both teams attempt to run down a title that has eluded each for years.

Fairport last won a sectional title in 1975, but the Royal Comets had a sizable drought too, at 10 years. “Losing was not an option,’’ said Rush-Henrietta guard Tim Jackson.

A 14-0 run, including eight points by senior guard Ryan McAdam, put Fairport back in the game.

Rush-Henrietta’s lead was 50-47 with 4:30 to go when Betts answered with a jumper and a tip-in.

The Royal Comets made 9 of 12 free-throw attempts in the final three minutes.

R-H plays No. 1 Greece Arcadia (20-1) in a state tournament qualifier at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday.