By John Hummer
Although they lost their final game in regional action against St. Mary Catholic Central (Monroe) on March 13, the Napoleon Pirates played like it was a new season that belonged to them throughout the District 70 playoffs. The Pirates (11-7 Cascades Conference, 16-8 overall) capped off their week to remember as the team took home the district championship trophy after handily beating the Manchester Flying Dutchmen 61-49. It was the Napoleon boys’ first district title since 2010.
“We didn’t end the regular season how we wanted to and didn’t play very good defense down the stretch,” said Napoleon coach Brent Tuthill. “We told the guys it’s a new season.” Napoleon lost their last three regular-season conference games.
“Everybody just kind of felt reenergized and we recommitted ourselves to playing defense,” Tuthill continued. I thought our defense in all three games was ‘lights out’. It all started by buying into that, working hard, and playing with a lot of energy. Now we’re a confident team, and confident teams are dangerous.”
Napoleon raced out to a 17-9 edge at the end of the first quarter and built the lead from there. By halftime, the Pirates increased their lead to 11 points at 31-20 behind 9 points by senior Riley Elliott. Manchester sophomore Tyler Horky paced the Dutchmen at intermission with 10 while junior Devon Kelly dropped in 9.
Manchester made a game of it early in the second half as the Flying Dutchmen outscored the Pirates 7-2 to start the third quarter and pull within 6 at 33-27. But that’s as close as it would get. Napoleon got the next five on a basket and a triple by junior Collin Bradley. Bradley was followed a bit later in the stanza by a three-pointer from sophomore Tyler Owen and a fast break bucket by senior Darren Hampton with 20 seconds left in the quarter. The Pirates padded their lead to 15 at the end of the third quarter, 46-31.
The Dutch managed a brief comeback late in the fourth period when a basket by Horky closed the gap to 8, 53-45, with just under 3 minutes left. But a tough basket inside by Napoleon sophomore Carter Wiley gave the Pirates a 10-point lead with two minutes remaining. Wiley would hit another key lay-up with 1:10 left to keep the Pirates lead at a comfortable 9 at 57-48. Napoleon would hit four free throws down the stretch to clinch the game and the district championship.
Ty Rose, shown in this Exponent file photo, was tough inside all year.
The Pirates, true to its season-long form, had a balanced scoring attack. Bradley led Napoleon with 15, followed by Elliott with 11, Hampton and Wiley had 9 each, while Tyler Owen chipped in with 7. Pirate senior Ty Rose crashed the glass for 12 rebounds, while Hampton fought for 10 and Wiley pulled down 7. Kelly paced Manchester with 20 points, with Horky right behind adding 19.
Tobin McCrum brings the ball up court in this Exponent file photo.
Games from Monday and Wednesday
Napoleon earned its district championship game against Manchester by defeating Hudson last Monday and Pittsford last Wednesday.
Napoleon 59, Pittsford 51 (overtime)
It took overtime for Napoleon to end Pittsford’s season as the Pirates went home Wednesday night with a 59-51 victory in the District 70 semi-final.
Pirate Sophomore Carter Wiley made the two biggest plays of his career to keep Napoleon in the game. Down by 2 with 29 seconds left, he forced a turnover, then tipped in an offensive rebound with 5 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
Napoleon controlled the overtime period, outscoring Pittsford 10-2, to steal the win and advance to the district championship game against Manchester.
Sophomore Tobin McCrum led the Pirates with 18 points, senior Darren Hampton had 12 and 9 rebounds, while Wiley finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds.
Pittsford senior Tanner Mravec scored16 points and became the seventh Pittsford male player in school history to reach 1,000 points in his career. Jake Burger’s 18 points led the Wildcats to go along with his 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks. Ben Sprunger contributed a double-double for Pittsford with 10 points and 14 boards.
Napoleon 55, Hudson 45