Leading off today:
Such is the nature of high school basketball that some of the most anticipated games of the season get scheduled for the first month of the season.
That's what happened Saturday in Western New York as host Canisius overwhelmed Olean 67-49 in the final game of the AD PRO Sports Public/Private Challenge. Ryan Richards paced the Crusaders with 19 points and 10 rebounds to offset 21 points by Olean's Wil Bathurst.
Olean opened the season ranked No. 5 in Class A by the NYSSWA, and Olean is No. 1 in Class B.
LaTerrance Reed (14 points) gave Canisius the lead for good at 7-6, and the Crusaders extended their advantage to 13-10 after a quarter and 29-24 at the half. A 21-12 margin in the third quarter put the game out of reach.
The Public/Private Challenge included nine games over three days with the private schools going 7-2.
Getting an early start: Smithtown East midfielder/attackman Connor DeSimone made a verbal commitment to Johns Hopkins over the weekend, making him the second New York freshman lacrosse player to have decided upon a college according to Joe Lombardi of LaxLessons.com.
The first Class of 2017 verbal commitment in the nation came from Bronxville midfielder Ara Atayan, who decided on North Carolina back in September.
DeSimone, who is 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds, is a member of the National Honor Society. He said he narrowed his choice to Johns Hopkins and Ivy League programs.
Punishment disclosed: Olean's Archbishop Walsh will be ineligible for the Monsignor Martin Association boys basketball tournament this winter under terms of a one-year probation disclosed by school officials on Friday.
In a letter to the Times Herald on Friday, board of trustees President Beth Powers said the administration was informed by the league's executive director that Walsh has been in violation of the league rules by participating in a three-day tournament in Erie, Pa., held at the end of February. Walsh, which rejoined the MMA in 2008, has participated in the tournament at the conclusion of the regular season for several years, Powers said.
"We have informed our basketball team and parents, and also communicated to the Monsignor Martin League that we value our membership and will be more diligent about understanding its rules," Powers said in the statement.
Milestone: Thanks to NYSSWA New York correspondent Joe Glus for catching an omission here, ad Bronx JFK boys basketball coach Johnny Mathis won his 600th game on Dec. 12 with a 53-31 triumph against Lehman.