Rush-Henrietta: Section V’s Cinderella

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HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WHEC) — The buzz of March is getting louder and although Rochester isn’t home to a Division-I team, there’s still plenty of madness in the high-school ranks. Rush-Henrietta is one win away from completing an improbable run to a Section V Class AA title.

“It’s all about cooking at the right time," said senior guard Mason Giorgione. "Some teams hit their peak earlier in the year and we knew we were going to get our peak at the right time.”

They knew correctly.

The Royal Comets stumbled upon an eight-game losing streak midseason, fighting the challenges and ups & downs of playing a season in the midst of a pandemic.

Giorgione and another senior in the backcourt, Tobey Wright, admitted team chemistry took a hit and spirits were low.

"Blame creeps in. Doubt creeps it. But we had to stay together," Wright said.

But the low morale wouldn’t be the tipping point of the season – only a bump in the road. Rush-Henrietta would enter the Class AA tournament as the 8-seed, facing 9-seed Penfield in the opening round. The Royal Comets would take it, 73-62, and wouldn’t look back from there.

In the quarterfinals, momentum was in favor of Rush-Henrietta, who took down 1-seed Victor, 72-64. Hilton fell victim next, 66-65 on a Damian Lillard-like buzzer-beating three from Giorgione.

Sticking with the comparison, Lillard had a bit of a Cinderella story in college, leading Weber State to an upset of 3-seed North Carolina in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

That only lasted one game. Rush-Henrietta’s March Madness tale is one game away from reaching the ultimate goal. A Section V championship.

"Everything happens for a reason. We’ve been working very hard in the offseason, summer and up until this point. It happened at the right time. Thank God it did," Giorgione said.

Two more sleeps and championship day will be here for Rush-Henrietta. On Saturday, March 5 at 6 p.m., 32-minutes good write this story into its own Disney movie.