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Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014: Amityville stripped of Sec. 11 basketball championship

   Leading off today: Amityville was stripped of its Suffolk County boys basketball championship Tuesday after Section 11 officials ruled the team used an ineligible player in the tournament, Long Island media reported.

   Ed Cinelli, executive director of Section 11, said the team's season is over and John Glenn will represent the section in the NYSPHSAA Class A tournament.

   "The state handbook is very clear that when a school uses an ineligible player in any contest, such contest would be forfeited to the opposing school," Cinelli said. "Participation by an ineligible player in a sectional tournament, state semifinal or final should also result in forfeit and the school would be disqualified from the tournament and their last opponent would advance in their place."

   The player in question is an eighth-grader, WABC-TV reported. Specifics of the eligibility issue were not immediately known, but it is likely stems from the selective classification rule, which requires that a junior-high athlete be certified for participation at a higher level.

   Amityville (18-2) defeated Glenn 74-73 in overtime in Saturday's Class A final and was scheduled to take on Southampton in Suffolk Class ABCD championship tournament Tuesday afternoon. Team members say that the player in question appeared briefly in at least two playoff games, including the game vs. John Glenn.

   "It's just really devastating how they can take our championship like that. We worked so hard for it just for a mishap that happened between paperwork," Amityville player Malcolm Mathis told the TV station.

   Amityville's first game in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament would have been March 8 vs. the Section 8 representative in the quarterfinals, with the winner advancing to Glens Falls.

   Amityville AD William Maisel confirmed the ruling had no comment, Newsday reported. Coach Jack Agostino did not return the paper's calls for comment.

   "You don't ever want to see the county championship come down to a technicality, but we all have to follow the rules," John Glenn AD Lou Tuorto told the newspaper. "There was a violation of the rules and we were made aware of it. So I called Section 11 and asked them to check out the information that was brought to my attention."

   As bad as the gaffe is, it isn't unprecedented. In 2012, Section 1 stripped Biondi of its Class B crown and a spot in the first round of the NYSPHSAA tournament due to an eligibility issue with a player who had been representing Mount Vernon in football and Biondi in basketball for two seasons.

   State ski meet, Day 1: Competitors from host Section 5 hauled in first-place finishes Monday in all four events on the first day of the NYSPHSAA skiing championships.

   In the nordic races at Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area, Honeoye Falls-Lima junior Riley Douglas claimed her second championship in three years and

  
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Pittsford Mendon senior Connor Green captured the boys' individual crown.

   Green started sixth out of 48 racers and carved out a time of 27 minutes, 9.7 seconds for 7.5 kilometers. With snow flying and winds picking up, the 42 racers who followed were not able to reel Green in; he won by nearly 80 seconds.

   "We were able to choose when we started and I knew I wanted to go first, regardless of the conditions," told the Democrat and Chronicle. "I didn't want to have 30 people to pass. I just wanted to ski my own race, ski the course at my pace. It just happened to be I got lucky today."

   Douglas, a state runner-up last year to Cougars teammate Hannah Cole, raced 5 kilometers in 25:50.2.

   "She started skiing at a young age, so she's got this great ski-sense where she can just ride a fast ski," HF-L coach Bernie Gardner said. "She is basically fearless. She will really attack downhills. She works really hard and during ski season she really gets after it."

   In the alpine races at Bristol Mountain, Pittsford Mendon senior Hunter Doyle and Webster freshman Gigi Vasile picked up championships in the slalom.

   Doyle, who finished fourth in the slalom and second in the giant slalom the previous year, posted the top two runs of the day and finished with a combined time of 1:21.4 to easily outdistance McQuaid senior Nick Sertl, the Section 5 combined champion (1:23.94).

   Vasile won in 1:41.45 to edge Julia Smith of Shenendehowa by .18 seconds.    "From last year to this year I guess I grew up," Vasile said. "I got stronger and more confident in my skiing and felt more in control of it. I worked really hard for everything. I had a whole different mindset."


  
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