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Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015: Basketball contenders get off to solid starts

   Leading off today: Looking for a candidate to win the boys Federation Class A basketball championship next March? People smarter than me in the world of basketball suggest looking no further than last year's Class B champion, Park School in Buffalo.

   On Saturday, Park defeated perennial Section 6 Class AA contender Niagara Falls 59-57 in the 16th annual Cataract City Classic as a Wolverines 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer. The game featured 14 lead changes and seven ties. Niagara Falls led 52-45 before Park made three 3-pointers in a 90-second span to pull ahead 56-52.

   Hunter Anderson paced the winners with 18 points and Kyle Harris chipped in with 14. Breon Harris led Niagara Falls with 20 points.

   One night earlier, Niagara Falls fell by a 56-44 score to Vaughan (10-2), the second-ranked team in Canada, after shooting just 3-for-11 from the free-throw line.

   Speaking of contenders: Mount Vernon fell two wins short of the NYSPHSAA Class AA basketball title last season. With four 2014-15 starters among the 12 returning veterans, it would be idiotic to not place the Knights on the (very) short list of teams likely to win it all at the Glens Falls Civic Center and then make a run at the Federation championship.

   Mount Vernon opened Saturday with a 94-53 win vs. Wadleigh from the PSAL as junior guard Marco Morency -- a/k/a the next big thing in that program -- came off the bench to score 20 points and also post five rebounds, five assists and four steals.

   "I have a nice bank account this year. There is a lot of experience. They're doing well in practice, so I'm going to rely on them," said coach Bob Cimmino. "Sometimes I won't have to say as much as I have in the past. They understand it. It's their job to police themselves."

   PSAL football: Harry S Truman beat defending champ Brooklyn FDR 42-14 for the PSAL Bowl division championship Saturday in Coney Island.

   Junior quarterback Cromer Imotep threw for a 64-yard touchdown to junior running back Jefferson Ramon, ran for one and returned a kickoff 70 yards for a third score.

   "I felt great," Imotep told The Daily News. "And with the help of my team we were able to play really well and get the win when it mattered most."

   Following up: By now, the running community is well aware that the Fayetteville-Manlius girls have won nine of the last 10 Nike Cross Nationals -- with the exception being a second-place finish in 2013.

   Nearly as amazing is the work of the Saratoga girls, who finished fourth Saturday in Portland, Ore., for the team's ninth top-five finish since the NXNs began in 2004.

   Leading the way for the Streaks was freshman Kelsey Chmiel, whose fourth-place finish was the best by a New York girl since Mary Cain of Bronxville was runner-up in 2012.

   The girls champ was Oregon-bound senior Katie Rainsberger of Air Academy High in Colorado Springs, Colo. Her mother is Lisa Larsen Rainsberger, who as Lisa Weidenbach won the 1985 Boston Marathon, making her the last American female to do so.

   Alumni news: Iowa's national championship hopes were crushed Saturday with the 16-13 loss to Michigan State.


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  • One of the casualties was running back Jordan Canzeri, the 2011 Troy graduate who was one of the standouts in the classic 2010 NYSPHSAA Class AA title game vs. Rush-Henrietta. Canzeri carried just twice for 12 yards against the Spartans before being forced out by an injury to his right leg.

       On the plus side of the injury equation, 2012 Aquinas grad Jarron Jones is on the verge of the unthinkable. After suffering a serious knee injury in August and undergoing surgery and rehab, the standout defensive lineman is expected to be green-lighted by the Notre Dame medical staff to return to practice this week and will almost certainly play at least a few downs in the Fiesta Bowl vs. Ohio State on Jan. 1.

       Coach accused: The boys and girls varsity swim coach at Rush-Henrietta is facing child endangerment charges, WHAM-TV reported.

       Matt Greene is charged with endangering the welfare of a child following an investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the TV station reported.

       A school district spokesman said an employee reported concerns about a room adjacent to a girls' changing room. The district said those concerns prompted an internal investigation, which led to deputies being called to the school Friday.

       Deputies interviewed and later arrested Greene, who has been placed on administrative leave by R-H administrators.

       After his arrest, Greene was released on an appearance ticket.

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