Stick around high school sports long enough and you find yourself developing a shorthand for referring to memorable performances of the past.
Depending upon which sideline you were on, the 2004 NYSPHSAA Class AA football final in which Syracuse CBA defeated New Rochelle 41-35 was either the Greg Paulus or Ray Rice Game. Five years earlier, Harrison used a human battering ram of a running back to win the Sam Maldonado Game at the Carrier Dome. In boys lacrosse in 2009, the Connor English Game saw the Virginia-bound senior strike for nine goals in Manhasset's 16-11 win over LaFayette in the Class C final in Rochester.
Basketball has had a few of those outlandish performances over the years, and the 2014 NYSPHSAA championships in Glens Falls added to the list. Junior guard Jordan Roland scored 41 points -- including 32 in the first half -- as Westhill steamrolled a very good Olean team 93-55 in the Class B title game.
It was as good a starting point as any in the New York State Sportswriters Association's recap of the 2013-14 year in high school sports.
Roland, who after the season verbally committed to George Washington University, went 16-for-21 from the field by repeatedly elevating to a release point far above defenders in the course of making seven of his nine 3-point attempts at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
"I don't even know how to describe it," Roland told The Post-Standard. "They were all falling. I felt like everything was going in. My teammates were getting the ball to me in the right spots."
A week later, Roland scored 20 first-half points and 30 overall in the Federation Class B final in Albany as the Warriors downed Regis 65-46 to cap a 27-0 season.
"I was shocked when I heard he only had 30 because he had 28 (actually 20) at halftime and I'm sure he scored another 20 in the second half," Regis coach Kevin Cullen said.
Triumph turns to sadness
One of the lessons sports teaches us is that the joy associated with victory can be fleeting, a reality that the Westhill community came to understand all too well. On the same weekend the boys basketball team was completing its perfect season, two-year starting quarterback Reed Derrenbacher
was found dead.
He was a first-team all-league selection as a senior, and more than 300 Westhill students, staff and friends gathered for a Monday night vigil near the football field.
"It's definitely a very difficult time for everybody," Westhill Superintendent Casey Barduhn told The Post-Standard.
In the spring, Greenwich junior Jake Pett, a Section 2 football standout, also died. But the Westhill and Greenwich communities were hardly alone in their heartache. At a moment it time when discussion about concussions and head trauma was at its most intense, a Western New York football player died after collapsing on the field three days earlier.
Brocton junior Damon Janes, 16, collapsed during a Sept. 13 game between Westfield/Brocton and Portville. Original reports said Janes had sustained a hit in a helmet-to-helmet collision, an assertion that could not be substantiated by a review of game film by the Portville coaches.