Fairport erases title drought
Raiders fend off R-H for first crown in 31 years
(March 5, 2006) — It's all over.
|Fairport, playing in its fourth Section V boys basketball final in five years,
ended a 31-year wait for another championship on Saturday night.
The Red Raiders held off rival Rush-Henrietta, 52-50, in the Class AAA final
at Blue Cross Arena to win Fairport's first boys basketball title since 1975.
"It's a dream," Fairport senior forward Kelly Condello said. "We were all
"We've been thinking about this the whole season. We've had opportunities, we
just never cashed it in. We finally got it."
It was the last of seven Section V championship games at Blue Cross Arena,
which held 13,850 people over the course of the day, the second-largest total
ever in the tournament's history at the War Memorial.
Section V boys basketball chairman Jack Purificato estimated that there were
more than 11,000 people in the building during the Class AA final between
Greece Athena and Irondequoit.
The Fairport vs. Rush-Henrietta matchup was between Class AAA's two top seeds.
No. 1 seed Fairport (20-1) lost seven straight games to Rush-Henrietta (17-4)
before the Red Raiders turned that inside out this year by sweeping the season
"We have the confidence," said Fairport senior Corey McAdam, who scored 18
points and was named tournament MVP. "It comes from hard work in practice and
from playing good teams during the regular season."
Fairport's Kelly Condello (#32)
Ozell Franklin (#2).
KARIN von VOIGTLANDER
Rush-Henrietta led by three points after the first quarter but had a problem.
Senior forward Calvin Betts, Rush-Henrietta's leading scorer and a former
All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year, picked up two fouls.
The Royal Comets also sank a little deeper into foul trouble during the second
quarter, when 6-foot-7 senior forward Dhimitri Luarasi committed his second
"We had to change our plan," Rush-Henrietta coach Chris Reed said. "We weren't
able to pressure as much as we wanted to.
|"We need Calvin in the game, and for him to be able to play instinctively and
Fairport's lead went to five points, but Rush-Henrietta fought back to a 22-22
tie at halftime after a pull-up jumper by Ozell Franklin.
A 3-pointer by junior guard Brian Gebhardt and a short bank shot by Cory Magee
gave Fairport a 37-30 lead by the end of the third quarter. Betts also was
whistled for his third foul — a charging violation that wiped out a basket —
before the period ended.
The Red Raiders were up by five points, 39-34, when Kyle Downey swished a
3-pointer with 5:36 remaining, seconds after Betts committed his fourth foul.
A 3-pointer by Ricky Reed with 4:36 to go helped Rush-Henrietta get back to
within three points of Fairport, but Gebhardt came through with another
3-pointer, putting Fairport's lead at 45-39.
"Those threes lifted us," Condello said. "I was looking for him both times."
A putback by Jonnah Whipple cut Rush-Henrietta's deficit to four points,
45-41, but the Royal Comets turned the ball over with 1:43 remaining and a
chance to get within two.
McAdam cut to the basket on a restart for a layup that extended Fairport's
lead to six points with 1:37 remaining.
Fairport's Cory Magee (#34), left,
puts up a shot against
Dhimitri Luarasi (#42).
After Rush-Henrietta came up empty on its next possession, Condello scored
near the basket to push Fairport's lead to seven again, 49-42, with 50 seconds
Fairport's lead was 49-44 when Downey was sent to the free-throw line, and the
sophomore guard made one out of two.
Fairport's Adam Cole,
far right, hugs teammate Owen Reilly as they celebrate their victory
KARIN von VOIGTLANDER
A long 3-pointer by Betts was too long, and Downey was fouled again with 19.5
This time, Downey sank both free throws to put Fairport up 52-44 and in
The Red Raiders will play Athena in the state qualifier at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday
at Blue Cross Arena.