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Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015: St. Anthony's list of college commitments grows

   Editor's note: This blog was updated Wednesday, Sept. 30, to correct which sections voted to support Binghamton's bid to host the boys basketball tournament.

   Leading off today: Here's something that doesn't happen very often but is very nice to see when it does materialize: With her decision to enroll at the University of Central Florida next fall, Jayla Jones-Pack has become the fifth senior on the St. Anthony's girls basketball team to land a college scholarship.

   Jones-Pack joins Sarah Edmond (Howard), Taylor Goode (Central Connecticut State), Ally Murphy (Sacred Heart) and Etalyia Vogt (Towson) on the list of Division I college commitments, Newsday reported.

   Jones-Pack averaged 12 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game as a junior last season while helping the Friars reach the CHSAA state Class AA semifinals. She also considered Seton Hall, Rutgers, North Carolina, Minnesota, West Virginia and Pittsburgh.

   Boys soccer: With a handful of starters sitting due to injuries, Buffalo International Prep/Grover, ranked 10th in the state in Class B, dropped a 1-0 decision to Hutch-Tech.

   I-Prep/Grover had won the teams' first meeting 7-0 this month.

   Sophomore Gloire Ndagano scored in the 75th minute and senior Alex Ward made eight saves in handing I-Prep/Grover its first regular-season loss in two years.

   Championship coach dies: Rodney "Rod" Thomas, who coached Colton-Pierrepont to the NYSPHSAA boys Class D soccer championship in 2006 and then retired, died Monday morning at age 62.

   Thomas had been serving as an assistant coach with the boys and girls soccer teams at Colton-Pierrepont right up until his death.

   "He was active with both the boys and girls teams helping out whenever he had time," said Colton-Pierrepont boys coach Jim Nee, who succeeded Thomas after his retirement. "That is the kind of person he was, he was always looking to help out in the community."

   A tough call: reported recently on the plight of Corcoran senior football player Carlos Williams, ejected during the first quarter of a Sept. 11 vs. West Genesee after officials erroneously ruled he threw a punch. The penalty includes suspension from the next game, which meant Williams ultimately missed seven quarters of action for something he didn't do.

   The website reported video evidence, plus conversations between the coaching staffs, appeared to confirm Williams' innocence. Unfortunately for him, there is no mechanism within Section 3 and New York State Public High School Athletic Association rules that allows an appeal in situations.

   In a follow-up Monday, reporter Donnie Webb provided details via NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas as to why Williams had no recourse. Zayas said creating an appeals panel would require hiring staff that would be overrun with pleas for video reviews of all sorts of calls, including things like players stepping out of bounds or determining whether last-second shots should have counted.

   Imagine the logistical nightmare of having multiple games in multiple sports across every section of the state replayed or picked up at the point of protest days if not weeks after the fact.

   Zayas also made the point that the state membership "feels we shouldn't be overturning officials calls," a notion I wholeheartedly support even though I write this just a day after calling attention to a columnist's criticism of calls made in a football game in Buffalo this weekend.

   "I think that's why we just have to make a blanket statement we won't overturn officials," Zayas said "They're there to officiate. Sometimes, they make mistakes and sometimes they do a great job."

   Section 3, like other regions of the state, doesn't even have enough officials to handle the slate of varsity and JV games on some football Saturdays. It can only get worse if we drive refs away with non-stop second-guessing.

   All that being said, allow me to channel my inner Warner Wolf and say, "Let's go to the videotape!" to dredge up what happened four years ago in Section 3.

   Back in September 2011, officials inadvertently gave West Genesee's football team a fifth down in its game-winning drive against Baldwinsville. Though the result was not overturned, the officials ended up being suspended from working any more games the final few weeks of the regular season and playoffs.

   Though the penalty almost certainly had to be the result of a review of game tape, there's a huge difference between that situation and Williams' case: As Section 3 Executive Director John Rathbun pointed out to me Tuesday, officials are independent contractors. The disciplinary action against them came from the organization governing the referees rather than from Section 3 or the NYSPHSAA.

   Basketball follow-up: As was previously reported, the NYSPHSAA's boys basketball committee voted last week to keep its final four in Glens Falls through 2019, a recommendation that is expected to be OK'd by the Championship Advisory Committee and the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee next month.

   Here are a few nuggets that I hadn't had a chance to pass football site

along over the weekend:

    • The Post-Star said The Warren County Board of Supervisors Occupancy Tax Coordination Committee -- with a name that unwieldy, I almost mistook it for a new Rochester high school -- recently approved up to $250,000 a year through 2017 in assistance to the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition (ACCC), which runs the Glens Falls Civic Center.

   That money comes from the occupancy tax on hotel, motel and bed-and-breakfast rooms. And though it won't be earmarked specifically for the basketball tournament, it should speed up improvements to the locker rooms and other areas in and around the arena.

    • Glens Falls won by an 8-3 margin over Bing-hamton, with the Times Union Center in Albany getting no votes. The dissenters were Sections 3, 4, 5, all of whom would understandably have liked the shorter trip to a venue that made a strong presentation. Section 6 aligned with Glens Falls.

    •Though state tournament chairman Doug Kenyon could easily have made the presentation to the basketball committee himself last week, Glens Falls instead sent ACCC President Dan Burke and Lloyd Mott, a persuasive high school sports figure and former assistant director for NYSPHSAA, to the podium for the bulk of the presentation.

    •Albany's bid was handicapped by the arena's inability to guarantee dates in 2019 according to Bill Higgins, the boys basketball committee chairman. The Times Union Center has made a pitch to host a piece of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in 2019.

    •The Daily Gazette reported the Glens Falls presentation included a new scoreboard plus better parking for the media. A new parking garage within walking distance of the arena is already in place.

   Didn't see this coming: I think we've mostly grown used to seeing neighboring school districts get together to field combined teams in soccer, football and baseball to deal with a shortage of players in sports that require 15 to 20 players just to squeak by.

   What's still shocking every time it happens, though, is when even a school with Class D enrollment has to reach out for help in order to put a basketball team on the floor:

   What make's Arkport's plight even more amazing is that its the larger of the two schools with a BEDS number of 108 to just 51 for Canaseraga.

   More tomorrow: Aside from the usual roundup of Tuesday highlights from the playing field, I hope to roll out mentions of several other really good recent reads from media around the state. I might just be imagining it, but it feels as though the number of interesting enterprise and newsy stories reported across the state this month surpasses past Septembers by more than a little. It's been hard to keep up with all of the good work that's being done by your local reporters.

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