Leading off today:
Two developments downstate made headlines Friday even as the NYSPHSAA conducted semifinals in boys and girls basketball in the Capital Region:
Mahopac coach steps down: Saying he was "heartbroken" by racially charged tweets directed at the Mount Vernon team that beat his squad Feb. 27 in the Section 1 boys Class AA basketball semifinals, Kevin Downes resigned as coach at Mahopac on Friday after seven seasons at his alma mater.
Although only eight Mahopac students were suspended for the offensive tweets, Downes found the support for their messages too widespread and felt the community only expressed appropriate outrage after the incident gained media scrutiny, the paper reported.
"I did a lot of soul-searching the last two weeks and just felt like the best thing for me to do was to move on," Downes, 42, who is black, told The Journal News. "I was kind of heartbroken over all the stuff that happened -- not just the comments that were made but the 200-plus times those comments were liked, favorited and retweeted (on Twitter). It was tough. and it's been tough on my kids."
Downes said he dealt with racism growing up in Mahopac, but he said the town is culturally different now. He added racism has not been prevalent during his coaching tenure.
"I don't think it's everybody," he said. "Certainly, that's how people are looking at it now, but I still thought it was enough. I just felt like it would be hard to go back and feel like I was 100 percent supported."
Downes' teams reached at least the sectional semifinals in each of the last four years, including a trip to the Section 1 final in 2012.
Off to California: Cornwall football coach Marcus Hughes is leaving to take a coaching position in California, The Times Herald-Record reported.
Hughes, who went 67-13 and won six Section 9 Class A titles in his seven seasons at Cornwall, has accepted the head football job and a physical education teaching position at Diamond Bar (Calif.) High School, about 30 minutes outside Los Angeles.
Diamond Bar went 7-5 and lost in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section playoffs last fall. AD Kurt Davies said he had 140 applicants for the vacancy at the 3,000-student school, including 100 from Southern California.
Hughes, 34, accepted the job on Wednesday on a visit to the campus, where he met with players and parents.
"It's very hard because I love the kids at Cornwall so much, Hughes said. "It's a really difficult decision, but I feel like it's the right one for me and my family. I always knew Cornwall wasn't forever, but the longer I stayed, the harder it was to leave."
Hughes came to Cornwall after serving as an assistant football coach at several Colorado high schools. He is credited with installing the Cornwall team's high-octane offense.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity I was given here," Hughes said. "But I always wanted to coach at a big school in Southern California. I couldn't pass up this opportunity and I'm excited about the next chapter in my life."
Hughes, his wife and their three daughters, will leave Cornwall at the end of the school year.
Boys semifinals highlights: As expected, the Class B games were worth the price of admission and certainly a stellar way to cap the opening day at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Olean found itself in early trouble as Wil Bathurst picked up his third personal foul late in the second quarter and the Huskies trailed Woodlands 36-32 at the half. But Sam Eckstrom scored 20 of his 30 points in the second half, rallying Olean to a 71-63 victory.
Olean only began to assert control with a third-quarter run that ended