SYRACUSE, NY. -- February 20, 2006 -- The Onondaga Community College men’s basketball team defeated SUNY Canton for the second time in five days, 84-70, at Canton yesterday. The Mid-State Athletic Conference win was the Lazers’ sixth in their last seven games, and qualified the Lazers for the National Junior College Athletic Association Region III Division III Championship Tournament, which begins with first round games on Tuesday, February 28. The Lazers have now qualified for post-season play in each of the last six seasons and are the only Mid-State Conference school to do so. It is also Onondaga’s fifth consecutive season to qualify for the Region III tournament, a milestone that no other Mid-State school and only one other Region III school can claim. The Lazers now have an overall record of 16-11, and a 13-11 mark in Region III Division III play.
The Lazers fell behind by 8 points early against Canton, but a 35-16 run enabled Onondaga to take control of the game. The Lazers led by 6 at the half, and then gradually extended the lead to as much as16 in the second half. Kenny Gethers (Syracuse Bishop Grimes) led Onondaga with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 steals. Jeff Riker (Dryden) and Steve Siechen (East Syracuse-Minoa) each added 16 points, and Eric Latendress (Oriskany) scored 11. Pat Mannion (Marcellus) handed out 8 assists and had 4 steals, while Reggie Flynn (Jamesville-DeWitt) added 7 assists and 5 steals. Onondaga forced 35 Canton turnovers to offset a 48-32 rebounding advantage for the Northstars. Onondaga has now defeated Canton 13 straight times over the past 6 seasons.
Onondaga was coming off of a heartbreaking 88-87 loss to Broome Community College a day earlier. In that game the Lazers came all the way back from a 14 point second half deficit to take the lead in the final minutes, only to see a last second attempt to win the game bounce out. Gethers again led Onondaga with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 steals. Riker had 12 points and 4 rebounds before fouling out on back-to-back calls with 6:00 remaining. Adrian Hanks (Liverpool) added 12 points and Siechen and Latendress added 10 each. Mannion led the Lazers with 6 assists and had 4 steals. Rebounding proved to be the difference, as Broome held a 42-30 advantage on the glass.
Onondaga closes out the regular season on Wednesday night with an 8:00 pm home Mid-State contest against Corning Community College. Onondaga will then wait for the regional seedings and pairings to be announced on Sunday evening, February 26.
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