Leading off today:
What was your first job after finishing up high school? I think mine was pushing shopping carts and responding to the all-too-frequent "wet cleanup on aisle 5" calls at the nearby supermarket.
Armando Guarnera, 17, is thinking a little bit bigger. The Tottenville senior midfielder will play professional soccer in Italy next summer, The Advance reported.
Guarnera returned to Staten Island this week after a three-week trip to Italy during which he tried out for several clubs before accepting an offer to play for Avellino -- the birthplace of his maternal grandfather -- in Serie B beginning next summer. He also had offers from Benevento (Serie C) and Agropoli (Serie D), the paper reported, but Avellino is especially attractive because it is in contention for promotion to the country's top league next season.
"It's an amazing feeling," said Guarnera, who finished with five goals and 16 assists this fall. "This is always what I wanted ... it's a dream come true."
Guarnera will head for Europe after graduating in June.
"I thought there was a pretty good percentage of him making a team," Tottenville coach Arturo Radano said. "They actually wanted to take him now, but he's not going to play right away so it was decided to let him finish high school and than take it from there when he graduates."
Junior erupts for 50: Hampton Bays guard Alexis Fotopoulos scored 50 points Tuesday in a 77-25 girls basketball win over Southampton in Suffolk County small-school action.
The junior, who has already committed to Adelphi, accounted for 34 points in the second and third quarters.
"It's probably the quietest 50 points I've ever seen," Southampton coach Richard Wingfield told Newsday. "She wasn't trying to shame or embarrass anyone ... I'm proud of her."
More girls basketball:
Dave Powers at Tuxedo High is once again assisting the Basketball Coaches Association of New York by compiling the list of girls coaches who began the season with 300 or more career victories. If you have information to share along those lines, please email Dave at email@example.com when you get a moment.
Taking it to extremes: There's an awesome juxtaposition on Syracuse.com today.
The No. 2 story on the page tells the story of support shown for Liverpool senior Lexi Tulowiecki during a 42-35 girls basketball win over Fayetteville-Manlius. Tulowiecki's mother died on Monday night, prompting coach Matt Brazill to immediately cancel practice and begin discussions about potentially postponing Tuesday's game.
After talking it through, the Warriors decided to play and dedicate the game to Tulowiecki and her mother.
The No. 1 story on the page, though, was the latest cringe-worthy installment in its "Parents Behaving Badly" feature, this time, including a referee being threatened with a lawsuit by a parent at a game who also happened to be one of the official's superiors at work.
As I often say, "Sigh."
On the move: Wings Academy is already living in rarefied air, starting the season ranked third in Class AA in the New York State Sportswriters Association ratings.
We may have to promote that team to the No. 1 or 2 spot in the not-too-distant future if the rumors and subsequent