Leading off today:
Here's hoping there's no need for overtime in Saturday's NYSPHSAA hockey semifinals at the Utica Auditorium.
In order to accommodate the ECAC West Championship game Saturday between Utica and Elmira, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced it is moving up its start times that day.
The day's schedule starts half an hour earlier than originally listed as Ithaca takes on Scarsdale at 9:30 a.m., followed by Massena vs. Fairport at noon. In Division II, Beekmantown plays Auburn at 2:30 p.m., followed by Queensbury vs. Webster Schroeder at 5 p.m.
If all goes well, the ECAC game will start at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday's NYSPHSAA finals are not affected.
Surprise visitor: There were not a lot of surprises on the mats during the state wrestling championships Friday and Saturday in Albany, but there was a surprise alongside those mats.
Joe Bena, 75, who had already announced his 48th season in coaching would be his last at Duanesburg, was on hand just nine days after he suffered a stroke at his home. The stroke left Bena with some mild facial paralysis. Matt Sitors has been the team's acting coach in his absence.
"My goal was to get here," Bena, the state's career leader in victories, told The Times Union. "I worked real hard at the rehab."
Bena has mentored 13 NYSPHSAA tournament champions and came oh so close to getting No. 14 Saturday. Junior Connor Lawrence reached the Division II title match, losing 3-1 in overtime to Trevor Allard of Mexico at 160 pounds.
"It means he wants to be here," Lawrence told the paper after Friday's first day of action, "and it means a lot to me."
Said Bena: "I'm so glad I'm here. I've been coaching 48 years, and I don't know if I've missed a handful of state tournaments in that 48 years."
Bowling championships: The East Islip girls made the most of Suffolk County hosting the NYSPHSAA bowling championships for the first time since 2001, piling up 5,632 pins Saturday in North Babylon.
"This is everything we wanted," Amanda Schilling, whose 1,167 series paced the Redmen, told Newsday. "That's why we wanted states here, so we could do this in front of our supporters."
East Islip's Jordan Kruger rolled a 1,150-pin six-game series, and Olivia Lopera added a 1,122.
Colonie's Amanda Chrzanowski rolled 1,318 and Rebecca Gotterbarn (Sewanhaka) had a 1,273 to pace first-day scores.
Blocks of 1,346 by Chad Mee and 1,259 from Bryan