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Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015: Casamento leaving Syracuse CBA for Washington, D.C.

   Leading off today: Football coach Joe Casamento, 143-27 in 17 seasons at Syracuse CBA, has resigned to take a job in Washington, D.C., reported Wednesday.

   Casamento, 67, will be the associate head coach at St. John's College High School and direct its entrepreneurial innovation leadership institute.

   "This is an unbelievable opportunity," he said. "Part of the job will be dealing with CEOs that are going to be working in the institute with us. It's a platform and has resources both financial and people-wise that I think is going to be a dynamic program that schools from all over the country will come to St. John's and copy it and hopefully help kids become better innovators, have better character, be better leaders."

   Casamento said he was wooed by powerful St. John's backers, including Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, a 1990 St. John's graduate.

   "When I accepted the job at St. John's, I was crying," Casamento told the website. "I said, I can't believe I'm leaving. It's been a perfect fit for me.

   Casamento's CBA teams won four Section 3 Class AA championships and have been in the title game seven of the last 11 years. In 2004, quarterback Greg Paulus led the Brothers to the NYSPHSAA Class AA state championship.

   Another departure: Damien Rhodes has resigned after two seasons as football coach at Fayetteville-Manlius, where we was a star running back as a teen.

   Rhodes, 30, said the combination of a demanding career -- he works for a medical supply company -- and being a coach was just taking too much of his time.

   "I'm just too busy, in a good way, professionally, to be a head high school coach," Rhodes told "It's too hard to do two things full time."

   The Hornets were 8-1 and 3-5 in his two seasons.

   Violence ends game: Tuesday's boys basketball game between Spring Valley and Nanuet, which was suspended in the second quarter by an incident between spectators, will resume Saturday morning.

   The game at Spring Valley was stopped when one of two East Ramapo students who was attacked pulled a knife, police told The Journal News. The alleged attackers were 19-year-old men who were not students, authorities said.

   "At some point, one of the victims pulled out a knife in an attempt to defend himself," said Spring Valley Police Officer Francis Brooke, the school resource and DARE officer. The fight was broken up by security guards and the young men scattered. The knife was confiscated by police, who believe they know who the alleged attackers are.

   However, Spring Valley AD Bill Pilla disputed the police account, saying only one student, who attends Ramapo High School, was attacked.

   Because the victim has declined to press charges or cooperate, no arrests have been made, Brooke said.

   Hockey update: Help is on the way at Pelham, which is ranked fifth in the state in Division II despite a losing record -- acknowledgement of the Pelicans' very difficult schedule.

   "We're feeling great," Phil Dutko told The Journal News after scoring twice Wednesday in a 5-2 win over No. 9 Mamaroneck. "All of us feel we get exponentially better adding them. We were already in a good spot. We played all of those upstate teams very close, but it's great to get them back."

   Pelham's Hogan Peters is coming back from a semester at prep school and will be on the ice after his transfer paperwork is finalized. Lucas Gabow was concentrating on travel hockey and has to complete the required eight practices before he rejoins the Pelham lineup.

   "We're going to get a defenseman in Gabow who's skilled, who can move the puck, who can score," coach Ed Witz said. "We're going to get a guy in Hogan who's been with us

since his freshman year, who knows what we want to do and can put the puck in the net. It's huge for us."

   Wednesday's win improved Pelham to 5-6 for the season.

   In other Division II hockey, seventh-ranked New Hartford nipped No. 3 Syracuse CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt 2-1. Mike Mercurio scored the game-winner for the Spartans, and Tyler Hansen made 32 saves in goal.

   Boys basketball: Tyler Roberts made a 3-pointer over two defenders at the overtime buzzer to finish with 21 points and send Wheatland-Chili past Batavia Notre Dame 58-56 in a Genesee Region game.

   The Fighting Irish, ranked ninth in Class D this week by the New York State Sportswriters Association, are on a rare three-game losing streak after opening the season 4-0.

   Josh Johnson (23 points) gave Notre Dame a 56-55 lead with :40 left in OT. A Wheatland-Chili turnover and a missed ND free throw set up Roberts' heroics.

   Awards time: Arlington senior Bella Burda has been recognized as the state's best female cross country runner for the second time in three years by Gatorade. Previous two-time New York winners were Roslyn's Emily Lipari (2007 and '08 seasons) and Cornwall's Ailing Cuffe ('09 and '10).

   Burda won the NYSPHSAA Class A and Federation individual championships before also placing first at the Nike Cross Nationals regional qualifier.

   Following up: Services were held Saturday for retired New York City police captain Scott Stelmok, a lifelong Long Island resident who was a first responder at the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The well-known youth hockey and St. Anthony's freshman coach died Dec. 29 at the age of 45 after a five-year battle with cancer.

   "He loved introducing kids to the school, seeing them start out as a bunch of strangers and, by Christmastime, having them look like a hockey team," St. Anthony's JV coach Marc Sambach told Newsday. "He had a plan, stuck with it, and it always worked. . . . In my lifetime, I have met nobody better."

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