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Friday, Jan. 16, 2015: New allegations of racial slurs at Mahopac

   Leading off today: Less than a year after an ugly incident involving racist tweets aimed at Mount Vernon athletes, Mahopac administrators are investigating charges that at least one player directed racial slurs at a Carmel basketball player last week, The Journal News reported.

   Interim Superintendent of Schools Brian Monahan said action was taken against one or two students. He declined to reveal whether any players had been disciplined, the paper reported.

   "The language that was reported to me concerns me," he said, confirming it was racial in nature.

   Carmel Deputy Schools Superintendent Andy Irvin said Thursday he had been told that a Mahopac player had used the slur multiple times on the court and that he believed the Carmel player had also been physically targeted with elbows to the head.

   "I do believe Mahopac, as a district, starting from the superintendent, (has) taken this very seriously," Irvin said.

   In a letter to Mahopac families, Monahan wrote: "These allegations would be troubling anyplace; I know they are especially troubling to the residents of this community."

   That was at least in part referring to last season's incident during a season-ending loss to Mount Vernon, after which racist comments were circulated among students via social media. Mahopac coach Kevin Downes, who is African-American, resigned after last year's season, describing himself as "heartbroken" over the comments.

   Following up: A California girls high school basketball coach whose team rolled to a 161-2 win last week has been suspended for two games by his school. Michael Anderson, coach of the San Bernardino (Calif.) Arroyo Valley team, will return to the bench next week.

   Using a full-court press the first two quarters, Arroyo Valley led winless Bloomington 104-1 at halftime and sat its starters for the second half. Per high school rules, the fourth quarter was played with a running clock.

   "People shouldn't feel sorry for my team," Bloomington coach Dale Chung told The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. "They should feel sorry for (Anderson's) team, which isn't learning the game the right way."

   Bloomington had lost another game by 91, and Arroyo Valley had won by as much as 98 this season. But Anderson told The Daily Bulletin, "I didn't expect them to be that bad."

   In its first game without its suspended coach, Arroyo Valley registered an 80-19 win over Indian Springs (4-9).

   Respected Sec. 2 coach dies: Saratoga teacher and coach Brenda Adams died Saturday at the age of 54 less than a year after being diagnosed with cervical cancer.

   Adams began teaching at Saratoga in 1987 and coached a variety of sports including basketball, bowling, field hockey, softball and volleyball. She resigned as golf coach over the summer after 10 seasons. When the Blue Streaks competed in the state qualifier in October, Adams was there to see three Saratoga players advance to the state tournament.

   Section 2 colleagues thought so highly of Adams that they nominated her to be the Times Union golf coach of the year even though she technically did not coach the team during the season. The paper did bestow the honor on Adams.

   "She was awesome. Her kids were always first," said Gary Holtz, who coached softball at Columbia and served with Adams on the sectional softball committee. "To be honest, I learned a lot from her in my coaching career just watching some of the things she did over the years."

   As of early Friday evening, an online giving site had recorded more than $11,500 in donations toward a scholarship fund created in Adams' memory.

   Clock ticking on nominations: The deadline for nominations for Mr. Basketball and Miss Basketball, arguably the most prestigious award presented in any sport

by a New York organization, is coming up Jan. 31.

   Varsity coaches as well as sports reporters in New York State can nominate seniors who meet the criteria that can be found on the Basketball Coaches Association of New York website along with the nomination form.

   BCANY members will select finalists in a vote ending Feb. 15, and the selection committee will pick winners by March 3.

   The 2014 award recipients were Isaiah Whitehead of Abraham Lincoln and Mariah Ruff of Oneonta.

   Coaches association honors Aris: Fayetteville-Manlius' Bill Aris is one of two winners of the inaugural national high school cross country coach of the year, as selected by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

   Also recognized was Bill Miles of Wayzata High School in Minnesota. Miles' boys finished second to Fayetteville-Manlius last month at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore., where the F-M girls won their eighth championship in nine years. Wayzata snapped the Hornets' streak of victories in the national NXN finals at seven in 2013.

   "Any award I ever receive as a coach, I always pass on to the kids. The players have to play, no matter what a coach does," Aris said in the coaches association's announcement.

   Finalists named: Skaneateles is a finalist in the NYSPHSAA's Battle of the Fans competition for the second straight year, joining Bethlehem and Pittsford in the final three.

   The finalists in the second annual competition were chosen from a field of seven based on a points system, as well as criteria such as sportsmanship, school spirit and originality of cheers. New York State Public High School Athletic Association schools were eligible to participate by submitting a three-minute video by Jan. 12.

   In the next phase of the competition, which was won by Norwich a year ago, NYSPHSAA representatives will be visiting each of the finalists on a game night to present finalist plaques. The winner will be chosen via a poll on social media starting Feb. 10. The winner will be announced Feb. 13.

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