By Brian C. Horey Contributing Writer
The Daily Star
---- — SYRACUSE — That Davenport’s boys outscored the state’s top-ranked Class D team by two points over the final three quarters provided an interesting footnote to Saturday’s Class D state basketball quarterfinal.
But truth be told, from the time New York Mills went on a 17-point run in the first quarter, the outcome was never in question. The Marauders defeated the Wildcats, 55-38, at Onondaga Community College.
Mike Comenale, a returning First Team all-state selection in Class D, scored a game-high 20 points — seven coming in the first quarter when Mills built a 23-4 lead. Its lead ballooned to 34-9 by halftime.
“We knew we were taller, quicker and just a little more athletic than (Davenport coach Lee Fisher’s) squad,” Marauders coach Mike Adey said after winning his 522nd game. “We just had to execute our game plan.”
Matt Finne scored a team-high 12 points for Davenport, which received 10 points from Kyle Moorby and eight from Josh Davi.
When Davi scored two minutes into play, Davenport trailed, 6-4.
But this 21-1 Mills squad, with a front line that measured 6-foot-3, 6-4 and 6-5, capped the quarter with 17 straight points.
Still, this was quite a turnaround season for Davenport (20-2), which won six games the previous season and didn’t qualify for sectionals.
The highlight came last Saturday, when the Wildcats earned 39-32 victory over Southern Cayuga in the Section Four final at Oneonta State, a triumph that marked Fisher’s nine sectional title and 536th win.
“I’m so proud of the effort the squad put forth this year,” said Fisher, second all-time in Section Four coaching wins behind retired Whitney Point coach Jack Halloran. “They had a never-quit attitude that kept us in some games we probably should not have won.”
Adey, a 67-year-old, had high praise for the 73-year-old Fisher.
“We saw the great game they played against Southern Cayuga last week at (Oneonta State) and knew what we had to do,” Adey said. “It’s just such an honor to play a Lee Fisher team. He’s a great coach but an even a better person.
“After his squad beat me in the regionals in 2007 at (O-State), we sat down for a while and just talked — about his athletic career at Purdue, his family and so on. How many people would take the time to do that after just beating you? Plus, it’s so nice to meet a coach who is older than I am.”
As for what transpired on the court Saturday, Mills’ size, length, quickness and athleticism proved too much for Davenport.
The Wildcats had a tough time getting into their offense as a spider web of tall bodies, long arms and legs, and quick hands forced turnovers, bad passes and never allowed Davenport to get comfortable. Even shots from the perimeter were contested.
Afterward, Fisher lamented Davenport’s numerous turnovers but admitted Mills’ size and strength had a lot to do with his team’s struggles.
Fisher wouldn’t commit to returning next season. His first season on the sidelines at Davenport came in 1964.
“I’ll talk it over with (my wife) Joanne, school folks and when the time comes everyone will know,” he said.
The Marauders will play Section Seven’s Moriah in a state semifinal at 11:45 a.m. Friday in a state semifinal at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
NY Mills 55, Davenport 38
CLASS D STATE QUARTERFINAL
Saturday at Onondaga CC
Number before team indicates section
4-DAVENPORT (20-2): Paul Clark 0 0-0 0, Devin McMahon 0 0-0 0, Corey Hartman 1 1-2 4, Matt Finne 5 0-0 12, Bryce Kohout 0 0-0 0, Kyle Moorby 5 0-2 10, Andre Dewitt 0 0-0 0, Gavin Cobb 0 2-2 2, Nate Backus 0 0-0 0, Cody Wamsley 1 0-0 2, Josh Davi 3 0-0 8, Kyle Wamsley 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15 3-6 38.
3-NEW YORK MILLS (21-1): Terrance Nichols 3 1-2 8, Andrew Suprenant 2 3-4 7, Zach Griffith 2 0-0 4, Luke Sunderlin 0 0-0 0, Anthony Cassaletta 0 0-0 0, Mike Comenale 7 5-5 20, Cameron Lyons 1 0-0 2, Ben Kehrli 0 0-0 0, Mike Copperwheat 0 0-0 0, Griffin Baur 0 0-0 0, Zach Vennaro 5 2-2 12, Ali Hassan 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 21 11-13 55.
Davenport 4 5 13 16 – 38
New York Mills 23 11 11 10 – 55
Three-point field goals: D 5 (Hartman, Finne 2, Davi 2); N 2 (Comenale, Nichols).