A phenomenal post-season produced several sectional champions among Catholic high-school basketball teams in the diocese, with strong showings in state-tournament play as well.
Nazareth Academy earned the Section 5 Class B girls’ crown with a 72-66 overtime win over School of the Arts in the sectional final March 2. The Lasers were led to the thrilling victory by 26 points from Sierra Speed as they gained their fifth sectional title in the past six years. Three more wins followed: 53-26 over Greece Odyssey in a state-qualifier game March 8, as Nicole Jones scored 11 points; 65-46 over East Aurora in a quarterfinal March 11, behind 24 points from Speed; and 57-45 over Cold Spring Harbor in a March 17 semifinal as Speed scored 19. Playing in their first-ever state final, the Lasers lost to South Jefferson, 48-41, March 18. Nazareth’s final record was 23-4.
Elmira Notre Dame’s boys (18-5) nearly joined their female counterparts as state Class C champions. The Crusaders won the Section 5 Class C title, 58-47, over Unadilla Valley March 4 as Zack Manuel led his team with 16 points. They went on to a 48-39 victory over Tully in the state quarterfinals March 11 behind 16 points from Greg Schiefen. ND’s season was ended by Campbell-Savona in the state semifinals, 45-38, March 17.
Geneva DeSales’ boys (17-7) won the Section 5 Class D crown, 37-34 over Northstar Christian Academy, in a March 4 final with Kurtis Porter’s 10 points leading the Saints. DeSales then suffered a 66-48 state-qualifier loss to C.G. Finney March 7.
The 2005-06 season was a great one for DeSales basketball, as the girls’ team (12-11) also reached the Section 5 Class D final.
Bishop Kearney’s boys (10-15) entered sectionals with a 6-14 record, but won four straight games — including a 66-64 double-overtime win over Wellsville in the March 4 final — to claim the Section 5 Class B title. Anthony Terry scored 27 points in the title game. BK was then eliminated in the state qualifier by Penn Yan, 54-45, March 8.