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Friday, March 7, 2014: Christ the King, Loughlin reach CHSAA final

   Leading off today: The CHSAA championship game has come down to Christ the King vs. Bishop Loughlin.

   Senior center Adonis Delarosa's three-point play with 14.3 seconds left was decisive as Christ the King, the state's 11th-ranked Class AA team, edged No. 3 Cardinal Hayes 49-47 on Thursday in the semifinals at Fordham University.

   Moments before his key bucket and free throw, Delarosa drew a foul at the other end of the court to give the Royals possession while down by two. He finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. CK's Rawle Alkins finished with 18 points.

   Hayes' Jamal Smith missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer with :03 left, and CK's Travis Atson hit one of two free throws with :01.7 left.

   Christ the King, the defending state Federation champion, will try for its fourth city championship in five seasons Sunday against No. 7 Bishop Loughlin, which eliminated No. 12 St. Peter's 89-77.

   Rutgers recruit Mike Williams scored 30 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter, and added six rebounds to pave the way for Loughlin's third trip to the CHSAA final in five seasons.

   "Mike was just relentless today," Loughlin coach Ed Gonzalez told The Daily News. "He just refused to lose today. He knows there's no tomorrow. And he'll do whatever it takes to win."

   Williams and Seton Hall-bound Khadeen Carrington (22 points) combined for 26 of the Lions' 28 points in the fourth quarter. St. Peter's Reilly Walsh (25 points) hit a 3-pointer to cut the Loughlin lead to 73-67 with 4:23 left, but Williams then produced eight points in a 10-0 Lions burst.

   Turning up the heat: Mount Vernon interim Superintendent Judith Johnson condemned what she called "provocative" and racist behavior from Mahopac athletes during and after a Section 1 basketball semifinal last week and vowed to take legal action, The Journal News reported.

   "When you break education law, there is a consequence," Johnson said during a Friday press conference at district headquarters. "The reason we will not sweep it under the rug is because it is not America."    Mount Vernon defeated Mahopac on Feb. 27 at the Westchester County Center. After the game, Mount Vernon players said they received tweets allegedly from Mahopac fans that were insulting and racist.

   According to Johnson, the uncivil behavior continued through the game, including comments by Mahopac players during the postgame handshake. In addition to civil rights violations, she said the incident violated the state's Dignity for All Act.

   On Thursday, Mahopac administrators said they have suspended three students and expected to take action against others. They also said a Mahopac cheerleader was assaulted by one of the Mount Vernon fans, who pulled her hair.

   Johnson said she did not condone what happened to the cheerleader, but that "there is no formula that I know of that equates hair-pulling to racist rants."

   Officials from both schools met Thursday with State Police, representatives of the State Department of Human Rights, superintendents from two Westchester-Putnam BOCES, State Education Department members and an official from the NYSPHSAA.

   Westchester County police spokesman Kieran O'Leary said police didn't hear racist language but added, "Bad

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manners isn't against the law. Poor sportsmanship isn't against the law."

   Robert Zayas, executive director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, termed the meeting "extremely beneficial" and said the school districts had agreed to work together to develop "mutual respect," the newspaper reported.

   Spokesman Antonia Valentine said the Department of Education will "work with the school districts, State Police, the Division of Human Rights and other state agencies as appropriate to determine next steps."

   Sandy Bernarbei, who helped found the Anti-Racist Alliance in Westchester, called for schools to participate in her group's racism workshops, saying a decision by Mahopac officials to have some students undergo sensitivity training was na├»ve.

   "They live in a white bubble," she said of the students. "These are so blinded by white and feel so protected by privilege."

   Coaching news: If pedigree counts, Utica Notre Dame has scored a touchdown with its choice of a new football coach. Jake DerCola, grandson of Clyde-Savannah coaching legend Nick DerCola Sr. (194 wins in the pre-playoff era) and son of the Golden Eagles' current coach, was introduced Thursday at the Section 3 school.

   DerCola, a former SUNY Brockport quarterback and Utica College and Hamilton College assistant, replaces Byron Abraham, who resigned after in the wake of a controversy following his decision to not play four players who had missed practice due to their participation in a Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) boot camp.

   DerCola also will also take over as athletic director on March 17. Current AD Gene Leuthauser will become director of athletic facilities.

   Also in Section 3, Gary Griffo is out after nine seasons as football coach at Westhill, AD Matt Whipple confirmed to The Post-Standard. Though the team was just 8-16 over the past three seasons, Griffo leaves with a 53-29 mark, a sectional title and three other trips to the finals.

   Griffo plans to continue to teach physical education at Westhill. He stepped down as the softball coach last spring.

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