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Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015: 'Boogie' scores 30 as LuHi beats Christ the King

   Leading off today: I've gone on record in the past as not being enamored with the nomination process in basketball for the McDonald's All-America teams.

   The last time I saw a copy of the list of advisers responsible for determining New York's nominees, I was horrified at how few people on the list had any ties to upstate. While that in itself doesn't preclude deserving players from north of the five boroughs from receiving a nomination, it certainly makes it less likely.

   On the other hand, our state does usually end up with an appropriate number of boys and girls making the final cut and earning the All-America recognition and invitations to the national all-star games. That's why I was more than a little surprised when the 2015 rosters were announced last week and Lauren "Boogie" Brozoski did not make the cut.

   On Wednesday, the Long Island Lutheran senior and Michigan signee took out her frustrations on Christ the King after Royals coach Bob Mackey's playful pre-game jab backfired.

   "He said, 'Burger King, not McDonald's,'" the two-time state players of the year told Newsday. "When he said that, it sparked a little fire in me and I was like, 'All right, let's go.'"

   Brozoski scored a season-high 30 points and added five assists in LuHi's 58-45 win over Christ the King. LuHi is ranked second and CK ninth in Class AA this week by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

   "Don't challenge her," Long Island Lutheran coach Rich Slater said, "because you're going to lose."

   Syracuse escapes: Fifth-ranked Syracuse downed No. 12 West Genesee 4-3 on Wednesday in a battle of ranked boys Division I hockey teams from Section 3.

   Nick Matro scored the winning goal in overtime after chipping in with a pair of assists in regulation. Goalie Sam Walsh stopped 39 shots.

   More hockey: Senior forward Owen Smith, the No. 2 scorer for the Pittsford team ranked eighth in Division I, remained hospitalized Wednesday afternoon after he slid into a goalpost during a game Tuesday, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

   Smith, who has nine goals and 12 assists, told the paper he suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung after being tripped on a drive to the crease in Tuesday's game vs. Penfield.

   "It was a feeling I never really had," he told the paper. "I usually have gotten up from little injuries."

   Based on what doctor's have told him, Smith believes his hockey season is over even if the Panthers make a run deep into the playoffs.

   "I'll be back before the spring, for lacrosse season," he said. "I'm looking forward to that."

   Kudos to Section 3: Though it's drawing mixed reviews from coaches, the new format for the Section 3 basketball tournament should be commended even if it wasn't for the most important reason.

   As noted by The Daily Times in Watertown, Section 3 is no longer splitting tournament classes into sub-divisions (i.e., Class C-1 and C-2) when there are more than 16 teams eligible. Whether 10 or 19 teams meet the qualifying threshold of winning 40 percent of their games, all the teams in the class get lumped into one bracket.

   Thus, there will be only one champ in each of the five classes for 104 Section 3 schools, which align with the state tournament format. By contrast, Section 5's 119 high schools will battle for 10 sectional championships in boys basketball beginning later this month. (More on that momentarily.)

   One motivation for the Section 3 change, the paper reported, is a desire to make it more likely that the four best teams in the class reach the semifinals and -- hopefully -- the two best meet for the title. To illustrate, one need only to look at Section 5's two Class B divisions. At least four and possibly five of the six best teams are in Class B1, yet they'll be playing down to one champion that likely plays Wellsville (the projected B2 champ and probably the best of

all the 'B' teams) for the right to advance to the NYSPHSAA tournament. Balance is obviously lacking.

   Of course, Section 5 has other factors to consider. Because it runs an "open" tournament in which all schools are entitled to play sectionals, consolidating the three Class C divisions into one tourney would result in a bracket with 40 teams. It's not as bad in Section 3, but it could still be unwieldy.

   "Now you will have way too many teams instead of too few," said coach Jim Hunt, whose Sandy Creek team plays in Section 3 Class C. "Do we really want a bracket with 25 or 26 teams with six or seven out-bracket games before the tournament really begins?"

   When all is said and done, though, I prefer fewer classes and fewer trophies being handed out. Only two of Section 5's 10 boys basketball classes this season will have as many as 14 teams, and the average will be 12 teams per bracket. When 41 of your 119 teams begin the postseason just one victory away from playing in a semifinal, you've diminished the value of your championships.

   Speaking of brackets: Yesterday's blog mentioned that the New York State Public High School Athletic Association posted BEDS data for the 2015-16 school year on its website. Those figures, which are a snapshot of enrollment for grades 9-11 from this current school year, determine the classes schools will compete in.

   Within minutes of seeing the numbers, NYSSWA member Steve Grandin unearthed a substantial nugget: Maine-Endwell will not be defending its NYSPHSAA Class B football championship next fall. As a result of an uptick in enrollment, M-E is slated to return to Class A, where in 2011 the Spartans earned the first of their four straight state titles.

   Following up: Hilton boys basketball coach Troy Prince could return to the bench Friday, after Section 5 recommended a two-game suspension for contact he made with an official, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

   The length of the suspension was first reported by the NYSSWA on Saturday. The paper said Wednesday the suspension was upheld by Section 5 following Hilton's appeal.

   Hilton plays at Spencerport on Friday.

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