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Monday, March 5, 2012: Here's why PSAL quarterfinals didn't measure up

   Leading off today: I swear, if folks in the PSAL could just memorize the phrase, "Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the roast beef," they would qualify to do stand-up at comedy clubs all across the state 365 days a year.

   They've certainly got the material to keep us in stitches, the latest being their off-the-mark-three-point-arc snafu Sunday at the boys Class AA basketball quarterfinals.

   Acknowledging that the court at Carnesecca Arena on the St. John's University was marked with the college 3-point-line instead of high school basketball's normal 19-feet, 9-inches arc -- gee, that's a stunning revelation about a college team's home court -- the PSAL says it will be sure the proper line is etched on the court for Saturday’s Class AA semifinals after the quarterfinals this past weekend saw players having to chuck the rock from 20 feet, 9 inches.

   “You shoot your 3s from a certain spot all season,” an incredulous Curtis coach Richie Buckheit told the New York Daily News on Monday after dropping a 50-47 quarterfinal to Abraham Lincoln. “You run your sets from a certain place on the floor, and then for the biggest game of the year it’s different?”

   The semis will pit Lincoln against Boys & Girls, followed by top-seeded Thomas Jefferson vs. Wings Academy. The CHSAA will be using the new-and-improved lines Wednesday for its Class AA Intersectional semifinals -- St. Raymond vs. Cardinal Hayes and Mount St. Michael vs. top-seeded Holy Cross.

   “I’d rather have played the game at Lincoln if I had known I was going to be playing using a college 3-point line,” Buckheit said.

   The Department of Education blames the university for removing the high school 3-point-line before the season without notifying the PSAL. That is a cop-out from an organization that could just as easily sent someone out to inspect the facility before, you know, signing a contract.

   “If we’re not prepared, they always want to send us a letter about what we’re doing wrong," Jefferson coach Lawrence Pollard noted of the PSAL.

   The PSAL office is not having an especially smooth postseason.

   Lincoln added sophomore forward Tighe Oberg to its roster just days before its playoff opener, raising eyebrows over the 6-foot-8 forward's eligibility.

   Curtis administrators told the Daily News they had contacted the PSAL to find out why Oberg was allowed to play the second-round game (recording eight points and seven rebounds in an 82-27 romp vs. Beach Channel) even though his name reportedly did not show up on the PSAL website roster until more than three weeks after the Jan. 31 cutoff for playoff eligibility.

   The player's father told the paper Oberg hadn't become eligible to play until the end of January due to transcript issues following his transfer from Islip at the start of the school year.

   A Department of Education spokeswoman told the paper Oberg's previous omission had been an “administrative error” and that Oberg has been a member of the basketball team during the season. The reason his eligibility has become an issue is that Lincoln lost starting junior forward Tafari Whittingham early last week when the PSAL handed down a three-game suspension for his actions during a scuffle at South Shore on Jan. 31.

   Speaking of ruckuses: Kingston boys basketball coach Ron Kelder called Section 9 officials "liars" following a 58-56 loss to Middletown in the Class championship Saturday, The Times Herald-Record reported.

   Kelder felt misled after asking Section 9 to not assign referee Otis Cowart to the final, citing a disagreement between the two during a loss at Middletown on Feb. 21. Such requests are not uncommon across the state; many leagues and sections have provisions in their game protocols to allow coaches to reject certain officials and/or to allow referees to refuse certain assignments. However, the paper said officiating assignments came from the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic

More N.Y. postseason coverage
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NYSSWA site for brackets of tournaments from the past and present seasons. Boys basketball
Road to Glens Falls for scores and stats.
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Current state rankings.
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Road to Troy for scores and stats.
Current state rankings.
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NYSSWA site for tournament brackets.
Current state rankings.
• 2012 state meet results: D-I | D-II
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Association rather than Section 9 -- a development that apparently was not correctly conveyed to the coach.

   "I was lied to by Section 9 basketball, lied to," Kelder told the paper. "I've been coaching for a long time and I don't lie, they shouldn't lie. I can't believe it."

   Said Cowart: "I just go out there and try to be professional. I don't have a problem with anyone. When coaches win, they are happy. When they lose, they aren't."

   Cowart told the paper that players pulled down the windows and spit at him as the Kingston team bus was leaving SUNY New Paltz after the game.

   Following up: Mary Cain of Bronxville set a U.S. sophomore record of 4:24.25 to win the girls 1,500 meters Saturday in the state indoor track and field championships at Cornell. The previous mark was 4:27.57 by Nicole Blood of Saratoga Springs.

   The meet's hustle award went to LIverpool star Zavon Watkins, who moved up to the 1,000 meters at the state qualifier but wasn't fast enough to make it into the seeded section at Barton Hall. No worries, though. He opened with a 1:57 ahead of the bell lap, won his race in 2:27.91 and prevailed when no one from the "fast" section could top that mark.

   Chauncey Scissum of Rush-Henrietta fired off a 47-6 effort in the last round of the triple jump to move up a spot in the standings -- only to see White Plains' Thomas Johnson respond with a 47-7.75 winner.

   The team that will not die: St. John the Baptist continued its ridiculous postseason run Sunday by beating defeating Canisius 63-52 in the state CHSAA semifinals at LIU Post to improve to 8-20 for the season.

   The Cougars face Iona Prep on Saturday at Fordham University for a chance to play in the Federation in Albany.

   Water-buggish freshman Tavon Ginyard led the way by scoring six of his 15 points during a crucial 10-2 run midway through the second half.

   St. John the Baptist started the regular season with 11 losses in 12 games and was seeded seventh in the CHSAA Nassau-Suffolk playoffs but beat St. Anthony's 82-70 in the final last week as 6-foot-9 sophomore Kyle Williams registered 34 points and 32 rebounds.

   Extra points: Perry girls basketball coach Brent Gillett's wife Breeana gave birth to their first child -- Mia Nicole — Saturday to highlight a huge day. The Yellowjackets, down by 10 with under 6:00 to play, rallied past Bishop Kearney 64-59 in a Section 5 post-sectional playoff to move within a game of the state Class C quarterfinals. Perry plays Harley-Allendale-Columbia Tuesday.

   Scio's Lori Root became the first woman in Section 5 to be named a boys basketball coach of the year following a 12-8 season in Class D.

   Starting this month, The Buffalo News' player of the year award in boys basketball will be named the Allen Wilson Player of the Year Award, honoring the outstanding sportswriter who died from leukemia last December. The award recipient will be honored at the inaugural Prep Talk/BCANY Awards on April 16 at Ilio DiPaolo's restaurant.

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