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Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015: Webster's Vasile defends slalom championship

   Leading off today: Webster sophomore Gigi Vasile repeated as girls slalom champion in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association skiing championships Monday at Whiteface Mountain.

   Vasile completed her runs in 45.57 and 45.90 seconds for a 1:31.47 aggregate to outdistance Julia Smith (1:31.98) or Shenendehowa and Sheila Decker (1:32.89) of Saranac Lake. Smith won the giant slalom and placed second in the slalom at the 2014 championships.

   Section 5 placed five girls in the top 10 in bone-chilling cold.

   "The cold is not so fun to race through," Vasile told the Democrat and Chronicle. "We all made it through. I just tried to stay relaxed and go out there and ski fast."

   Carter Lawrence of Old Forge captured the boys slalom title in a combined 1:33.32, comfortably ahead of Alex Hohman (1:34.39) of Queensbury and Joe Carrier (1:35.03) of Victor, who made up ground with the day's fastest second run.

   Monday's nordic state championships scheduled for Mount Van Hoevenberg were postponed due to the weather conditions. Individual and relay competitions will be held Tuesday.

   Collision course: One of the better rivalries in high school hockey will be renewed next Monday in the Niagara Cup title game at First Niagara Center.

   St. Joe's rolled past St. Francis 8-0 in the first semifinal, then Canisius was able to grind out a 3-2 win over Bishop Timon-St. Jude in the nightcap after falling two goals down.

   St. Joe's is ranked first and Canisius seventh in the most recent state Division I ratings.

   Canisius rallied with three second-period goals, including the winner by senior Elliot Crimmen with 7:21 left in the period.

   "We came together as a team," said Crimmen, who scored two goals in the game. "Our captain, Brad Pohlman, and our goalie, John Nichols, really got on us about what we had to fix after the first period. Timon took it to us, we weren't playing our game. We got together as a team and started playing the way we know we can."

   In the opener, seven Marauders scored and 15 recorded at least a point in the 8-0 win.

   Sigh: A pair of Tennessee teams have been punted from the girls high school basketball postseason for trying to lose their head-to-head matchup Saturday in a bid to avoid the top-ranked team and improve their chances of advancing to the state tournament.

   Riverdale, a state champion in 2013, and Smyrna were fined $1,500 each Monday and also placed on probation for a year by the Tennessee Secondary School athletic Association, The Associated Press reported.

   TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress told the

schools' principals the teams "made a mockery" with intentional turnovers off various violations and missed free throws. One of the game officials stopped play at one point to order the coaches not to make a travesty of the game with a Smyrna player about to shoot at the wrong basket.

   The TSSAA said administrators for both schools apologized and acknowledged the game was "not in the spirit of fair play."

   Smyrna (21-8) won the game 55-29 over Riverdale (22-8), putting Smyrna on track to play defending state Class AAA champion Blackman.

   PSAL veteran coach dies: Steve Piorkowski, who coached softball and girls basketball at Bayside in the PSAL, died from cancer Feb. 18. He was 54.

   Piorkowski coached for 23 years at Bayside. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in January 2012, MSG Varsity reported, and his basketball team made a run to the PSAL Class A semifinals the following year as a No. 38 seed. He coached the softball team into the quarterfinals a few months later.

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