SYRACUSE — All Central Square high school basketball fans will need to keep their schedules clear for next weekend after a historic Friday night at Onondaga Community College.
Trevor Boyce scored 21 points to power the second-seeded Redhawks boys team to a 49-43 victory over the No. 3 Fulton Red Raiders in the Section 3 Class A semifinals at OCC’s SRC Arena to advance to their first final since 2005.
Fellow senior Samantha Haley scored 18 points to lift the No. 2 Central Square girls squad to a 56-44 Class A semifinal win over No. 6 Syracuse-Christian Brothers Academy at OCC’s Allyn Hall Gym to reach the first sectional title game in program history.
“It’s amazing for our community, our fans, our teachers, our coaches, our administrators, it’s just great for our community,” said Central Square boys coach and Watertown High graduate Jay Adams. “I don’t know if that’s ever happened, so pretty darn exciting for our whole community.”
The Central Square girls team will face Indian River at 5 p.m. on March 4 while the boys will square off against New Hartford at 5 p.m. the next day. Both teams will play at the same location as their respective semifinal victories.
CENTRAL SQUARE 49, FULTON 43
Boyce finished 5-for-6 on 3-point field goals, including a key bucket from deep with one minute and eight seconds left to extend the Redhawks edge to 45-38 and end a strong late push by the Red Raiders.
Boyce finished 8-for-11 overall in the efficient performance, and Cameron Pownall added 16 points for Central Square (17-5).
“My shot just felt really good right when we walked in the gym,” Boyce said. “I was just feeling good and felt like I could hit it from really anywhere.”
He added: “We’re very pumped, very excited, we haven’t been here in a long time but hopefully we can give ourselves a chance and give it a good run.”
Sam Cotton scored 18 points as the only player to reach double figures for Fulton (14-8) in the all-Oswego County semifinal matchup.
Central Square raced out to an early advantage and led for the entirety, re-grouping late to fend off a fourth-quarter rally.
Cotton scored off the drive with 4:45 left to cut the Central Square edge to 40-38, but the Red Raiders then missed on chances to tie or take the lead on back-to-back possessions.
Central Square was held scoreless for a stretch of four minutes in the final period, but Shane Bergquist ended the drought with a mid-range pull-up to extend the advantage to 42-38 with 2:36 left. The Redhawks then made four free throws in the final minute to close out the win.
“We just decided to take our time, try not to rush things, run some clock out, and not give them any time so they’d have to start rushing,” Shane Bergquist said.
Aaron Bergquist added: “At the end we played our speed of basketball again, didn’t let them speed us up, and we took care of the ball.”
Central Square broke through after losing in three of the last six Class A semifinals and finishing just 8-13 overall last year.
Adams was also the coach when Central Square last reached a sectional final and won the Class AA-1 championship in 2005 by beating Fayetteville-Manlius.
“This group is a special group,” Adams said. “They play hard together, they trust each other, they share the ball together. I don’t have an ounce of selfishness on this group, I’m not saying I did on other teams because I didn’t, but this group really overemphasizes making that one more pass.”
Fulton was held to a 3-for-17 mark on 3-pointers and shot just 36 percent from the field overall.
The Red Raiders were making their first sectional semifinal appearance in more than 20 years.
CENTRAL SQUARE 56, SYRACUSE-CBA 44
Haley led all scorers with 18 points while Gigi Basile added 13 and Natalie Bush scored 12 for the Redhawks (15-7).
Central Square held a five-point edge entering the fourth quarter and pulled away down the stretch to secure the breakthrough victory for the program.
Central Square coach Kevin Brazell will guide the unit into its first-ever sectional final in his 38th season at the helm. The Redhawks finished just 4-17 overall last year.
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