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Monday, March 5, 2012: Biondi stripped of boys basketball championship

   Leading off today: Hey, Section 1: At 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, isn't Lance McDowdell somewhat difficult to overlook?

   The answer is yes, which helps make Sunday's stunning development in the boys basketball tournament one of the most embarrassing episodes in the last quarter of a century of New York high school sports administration.

   McDowdell, a first-team all-state lineman at Mount Vernon, has been bouncing back and forth between that school's football team and Biondi's basketball squad -- where he has been MVP of the last two sectional Class D boys basketball tournaments -- for at least two years.

   Such mobility between seasons should have triggered questions at the school, league and sectional levels over the possibility that he had changes school colors one -- or even two -- too many times in the last couple of years. Yet, the issue never surfaced until McDowdell had led Biondi team to another title Friday.

   On Sunday, Section 1 had a Homer Simpson-ish "D'oh" moment and stripped Biondi of its latest championship based on McDowdell having played for two schools in the same school year, Executive Director Jennifer Simmons told The Journal News.

   Biondi has requested an emergency appeal that will be heard by Section 1 Monday morning.

   “It’s a state rule. They missed it -— our schools missed it -- and it’s unfortunate,” Simmons said. “Obviously, (Biondi is) devastated.”

   The paper reported that Mount Vernon is the player's home district but he attends Biondi in Yonkers because of academic programs offered by the school, which does not have a football team.

   Greenburgh Academy was declared the champion of the rather severely tainted tournament and advances to play Section 9 champ Livingston Manor on Tuesday in the first round of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament.

   Simmons said the section will not consider stripping Biondi of the 2011 championship even though McDowdell also did the Mount Vernon/Biondi boogie between seasons as a junior.

More N.Y. postseason coverage
All sports
NYSSWA site for brackets of tournaments from the past and present seasons. Boys basketball
Road to Glens Falls for scores and stats.
NYSPHSAA tourney brackets
Current state rankings.
Girls basketball
Road to Troy for scores and stats.
Current state rankings.
Ice hockey
NYSSWA site for tournament brackets.
Current state rankings.
• 2012 state meet results: D-I | D-II
Final state rankings.

   “I’m not going backward,” Simmons told the paper. “I’m moving forward. We didn’t know it had occurred last year, either, so at this point, I’m not going backward.”

   Chong cracks 2K: Ossining junior Saniya Chong scored 31 points, including the 2000th of her career, on Sunday during a 79-48 win over Our Lady of Lourdes in the Section 1 girls Class AA championship game.

   Chong reached the milestone with 2:26 left in the 3rd quarter when she made a free-throw to complete a four-point play. The junior added seven assists and five rebounds as the Pride captured their second straight sectional title.

   Brackets progress: I have a few more basketball teams that need to be plugged in this afternoon, but brackets for the NYSPHSAA boys and girls basketball tournament have been updated. You'll find links to those as well as to the NYSPHSAA hockey tourney on our brackets page.

   I'm hoping to be back with another blog tonight to catch up on more weekend news and hopefully also build brackets for some of the other organizations that are in the midst of determining basketball champions as we continue down the path to the Federation tournament in Albany in three weeks.

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