AUBURN — Locked into a tightly contested game midway through the second quarter, the Warriors’ Jeff DeJohn turned his game up to another level.
DeJohn's heroics late in the first half pushed Weedsport to a 94-59 win over Southern Cayuga Wednesday in the opening round of the Cayuga County Holiday Tournament at Cayuga Community College. With the win, the Warriors will contend for their second county title in a row and third since 2013.
Four players reached double digits for the Warriors, led by DeJohn’s 25 points on five 3s. Riley Spingler scored 16 points, Jack Benedict scored 13 and Jake O’Connor finished with 12.
Conner Bennett led the Chiefs with points, Lorenzo Raymundo added 13 and John Groth contributed 11.
It was DeJohn’s effort heading into halftime that propelled Weedsport. With the Warriors ahead 30-24 midway through the second quarter, Weedsport turned to DeJohn and the senior delivered. DeJohn knocked down one open 3-pointer, then another 3, then followed with a converted three-point play after a foul on a layup. That span pushed the Warriors to a 49-32 edge at halftime and Weedsport outscored the Chiefs 45-27 over the final 16 minutes to close out the win.
DeJohn posted 13 points in the second quarter alone.
“There’s something about certain gyms where shooters shoot the ball a little bit better,” Weedsport coach Jon Sgarlata said. “Jeff shot the ball well here in our summer league and he’s kind of been spotty. We get in this gym and he’s on fire. It’s just something where he’s comfortable here and it definitely sparked our run.”
Weedsport has now won three games in a row and in all of those wins have scored at least 80 points. Sgarlata credits his team for putting up points despite playing more half-court offense than usual.
“I think we’ve gotten better at executing in the halfcourt,” Sgarlata said. “We like to push the ball and get the ball up and down, but sometimes teams know that we do that so they get back. We’ve done a much better job this year of executing our stuff. We’re still talented enough to score even when we’re playing 5-on-5.”
In a rematch of the 2015 county title game, Weedsport will take on rival Port Byron. In that game the Panthers took down the Warriors to claim local bragging rights, but Port Byron has been shut out in the teams’ last four meetings.
The two teams met on Dec. 22 with Weedsport emerging 81-56.
“I was at their game (against Union Springs) and they shot the ball incredibly well,” Sgarlata said. “They’re a tough team, they’re going to battle us and in a rivalry game five days later it’s going to be tough. We’re happy to be in the championship game again and Port Byron will make it that much more difficult for us.”