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Tuesday, March 6, 2012: Albany CBA edges Troy in controversial finish

   Leading off today: People in the Albany area will be discussing the ending of the boys Section 2 Class AA basketball final Monday between CBA and Troy for many years to come.

   Scratch that. It's more likely that they'll be arguing about it with all the passion anyone could possible work up over a high school contest.

   We've got us a raging controversy that could very well maintain a choke hold on Capital Region basketball talk for the remainder of the postseason and a chunk of the offseason regardless of how area teams fare in the playoffs the next three weekends.

   Trailing in the closing moments, CBA got the ball to senior guard Joe Krong for a 12-footer that tied the game. Troy inbounded to eighth-grader Dyaire Holt, who appeared to be pushed from behind by CBA senior Chaz Lott. The baseline referee, situated 15 feet from the action, clearly called the foul but waved it off moments later after a brief consultation with the other on-court official.

   Instead of putting Holt on the free-throw line with a chance to win at the frenzied Times Union Center, it was ruled that time had expired. That sent Troy coach Rich Hurley into a rage that resulted in a technical foul. Krong made the two freebies to open OT, the Brothers scored the next nine points and CBA downed the Flying Horses 62-57 to move into the NYSPHSAA quarterfinals.

   Based on video posted by The Times Union shortly after the game, the Troy faithful probably have a reason to be upset. If you watch the game clock over the basket, there's a good case to be made that Holt was fouled with one- or two-tenths of a second left to play.

   (BTW, check out the heated fan comments at the bottom of that video page.)

   At the very least, the play deserved more discussion between the officials, because the ref nearest to midcourt was less likely to have both the ball and the game clock on his line of vision. The baseline ref would have had the clock as the far end of the court framed above where the contact took place.

   "It was a joke,” Hurley told The Record. "They took off a call, but they seem to do that for CBA. They take stuff away and let them play the way they want to play. They made the call."

   CBA never led in the second half but rallied from 12 down en route to its second straight OT win over top-seeded Troy, which got a game-high 27 points from senior guard Trahmier Burrell, and fourth consecutive sectional trophy.

   Quick thought: If I'm a ref who just reversed a call and cost a team a strong chance to win in regulation, there's no way I'm T'ing up the coach on the losing side of the call for anything less than him taking a swing at me with a tire iron.

   Making that call at that time just moments after a crucial bang-bang call was overturned with virtually no discussion between the officials made the situation worse by a factor of five.

   Simply put, Monday was not a great moment in the history of Section 2 basketball.

   Of course, it could be worse. They could be the Section 1 executive committee ...

   Appeal rejected: Biondi’s appeal was turned down Monday by Section 1, meaning the boys basketball team has officially lost its spot in the NYSPHSAA Class D tournament and Greenburgh Academy will advance instead.

   Greenburgh will meet Livingston Manor in the first round of the state tournament.

   The whole affair, which I summed up Monday, is a black eye for the section. Lance McDowdell and his Biondi teammates have to be wondering what they did wrong, and the correct answer is "nothing."

   Now, it's up to the section and officials from Biondi (formerly known as Leake & Watts, by the way) and Mount Vernon to sit down and see if a paper trail exists.

   If no one can produce correspondence discussing how

  
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and why McDowdell was cleared to play football at Mount Vernon but basketball at Biondi, the school he actually attends, then Mount Vernon is on the hook for explaining how it allowed a non-student to compete there.

   If Mount Vernon has meaningful documentation, then it's up to Biondi officials to explain how the athlete played two sports for two schools in the same year while a separate discussion ensues about who should have told the athlete to make an either/or decision on sports and schools.

   And, of course, the section has to be held accountable for answers to several questions, not the least of which is why Biondi wasn't also stripped of its 2011 basketball championship.

   Not that we should expect them to care, but the whole Section 1 crew came within a couple of days of screwing up the entire state Class D tournament rather badly. I don't give Greenburgh (10-8) much of a chance against Livingston Manor, but Biondi could conceivably have won today and again on Saturday against Bridgehampton (9-10) to reach Glens Falls.

   Penfield impressive: Penfield went on a 22-0 run in the first half of a 49-34 victory over Greece Athena in the Section 5 girls basketball qualifier for the state tournament.

   Sophomore forward Margot Hetzke finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Patriots, who apply take-no-prisoners pressure for 94 feet an 32 minutes to limit opponents to an average of 36.7 points.

   “Everybody (on Penfield) can play,” Athena coach Mike Butler said. “When you have five kids on the floor and can bring two more off the bench — a lot of us (other) teams are close — but that piece of everybody being good separates them.”

   Dropping out: Moore Catholic is suspending its football program due to a lack of players, the Staten Island high school announced last week. Principal Douglas McManus made the decision on the advice of AD Rich Postiglione and coach Greg Rocco, The Advance reported.

   McManus said money and future enrollment numbers were not factors, but a student body that is nearly two-thirds female simply isn't large enough to sustain the sport with only 18 players due back from the 2011 team.

   McManus said administrators will re-evaluate the decision in a year to see if it makes sense to resume fielding a team. Postiglione told the paper he is "99.99 percent certain” the school will begin fielding a soccer team in the fall.

   Rocco was 28-22 in five seasons, including 9-0 last fall in the team's third season as an independent after going 3-17 the previous two years in the CHSFL. The school began playing football in 2001.

   Extra points: Mount Vernon's Isaiah Cousins has an offer in hand from UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun. The 6-4 guard also received offers from Oklahoma, Xavier and South Carolina after Sunday’s Section 1 championship game victory.


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