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Monday, Jan. 4, 2016: Molloy downs 13th-ranked HHH West

   Leading off today: School's back in session for most of the state today, but Sunday proved educational in the world of boys basketball courtesy of the annual Shooting Stars Showcase hosted by Long Island Lutheran.

   In two of the more telling outcomes, Archbishop Molloy defeated Half Hollow Hills West 70-56 and South Shore fought back from an early double-digit deficit to force overtime and beat Baldwin 76-71.

   Issac Grant led unranked Molloy (6-1) with 24 points against HHH West (4-2), ranked 13th in the state in Class AA. Molloy went on a 15-0 run in the final four minutes of the first quarter, but the game was tied at 40 before Grant and John Herring drove for two buckets each to make it 53-47 heading into the fourth.

   South Shore senior Nick Simeon scored 12 of his 15 points in the final 16 minutes of regulation. He assisted on a Shevon Anisca jumper that gave South Shore a one-point lead with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter and then followed by feeding Shaquille Ricks with :43.3 to go. Ricks missed the initial shot, but went to the line and made one of two free throws to tie at 69 against No. 24 Baldwin and force OT.

   Junior guard Ziare Mateen (25 points) opened up the scoring a minute into OT, and South Shore held Baldwin scoreless for three minutes while pulling away.

   The final numbers are in: Putting the time I haven't had to spend shoveling to good use this weekend (yeah, I'm a glutton for karma-style retribution), I went back through site traffic data for 2015 to determine which blog entries were the most frequently read.

   After weeding out blogs that were primarily announcements of all-state teams or roundups of results from the previous day, these were the topics that most caught your attention last year:

   (1) A summary of the Athletic Placement Process, which was handed down as the procedure replacing the Selection/Classification Program, which existed in various forms since the 1970s. Junior-high athletes have to go through APP in order to be approved to play on junior varsity or varsity teams. (June 23, 2015)

   (2) The October meeting of the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee took on a bunch of significant topics, including a proposal by its football committee to expand its playoffs to six classes. Part of the inspiration was to close down the disparity between the largest and smallest schools in Class D and the proposed Class AAA. The proposal was tabled at the meeting and eventually cast aside. (October 17, 2015)

   (3) New York State Public High School Athletic Association administrators and the organization's boys basketball committee offered a split decision on the awarding of the next tournament contract. The Executive Committee served as the tiebreaker later in the month, selecting Binghamton over Glens Falls for the 2017-19 tournaments. (Dec. 7, 2015)

   (4) Port Jervis senior Jack Piscitelli pulled off the most amazing football feat of the season by scoring four defensive touchdowns -- three on fumble returns and one on an interception -- during a victory over Monticello. (Sept. 30, 2015)

   (5) The lead to the blog was an explanation of a baseball coach's suspension over a rules violation, but the majority of that day's entry was a preview of the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee meeting that would result in the state hockey tournament being moved from Utica to Buffalo beginning in 2016.

   Particularly noteworthy from that blog was this analysis:

   The NYSPHSAA's own Championship Advisory Committee has raised a concern that's already been making the rounds at sectional levels for awhile -- namely that overriding the recommendation of a sports committee chips away at that group's authority to govern that sport.

   One or two such decisions over the course of time might not amount to much, but keep the big picture in mind: If Utica, which has more than a quarter of a century history of hosting, falls by the wayside Friday, that can't be good news for Glens Falls this autumn if it faces stiff competition for the boys basketball tournament.

   If the boys basketball committee -- whose tournament is an annual rainmaker for the NYSPHSAA financial ledger -- were to line up in support of Glens Falls only to see the event be awarded to another city, virtually every other sport committee would have to wonder if they've been permanently marginalized.

Balance that thought, though, with financial realities. With two Section 3 teams playing two games apiece in Utica last month, the tournament turned a profit of $16,580. If two Section 6 teams advance to the finals of a tournament at a venue being used for free, you've likely doubled your profit and helped further subsidize some of the sports that regularly lose money.

   In the context of the Glens Falls vs. Binghamton
  
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showdown, that issue is certainly in play to some extent. (April 30, 2015)

   (6) The Democrat and Chronicle broke the news that superintendents of 18 suburban Rochester school districts had asked the NYSPHSAA to consider removing private schools from future postseason competition. The Monroe County Council of School Superintendents was inquiring whether Section 5 could change the structure of its postseason competition to separate private schools from their public counterparts. (Nov. 10, 2015)

   My analysis the following week taking the superintendents to task narrowly missed cracking the top 10.

   (7) The Journal News reported that former Harrison football player John DeFonce, 20, profiled recently in a story about athletes who become addicted to heroin through prescription pain medication, was found dead in his parents' home. (Oct. 12, 2015)

   (8) This was a two-for-the-price-of-one blog summarizing allegations by supporters of the Buffalo Bennett football of racial bias by game officials during a loss in the Section 6 finals plus a recap of the Section 5 Athletic Council meeting in which Executive Director Ed Stores threw cold water on the idea that private schools were facing imminent removal from the postseason or even from the organization all together. (Nov. 17, 2015)

   (9) Speaking of private schools, Section 9 handed down sanctions against Burke Catholic that included a one-year ban from the boys basketball postseason. That penalty was overturned upon appeal later in 2015, but the censure and other measures were upheld. (March 14, 2015)

   (10) This was another case of a blog with two particularly newsy items: Buffalo Sacred Heart administrators informing Sister Maria Pares that she would not be brought back as girls basketball coach and the report that a partial collapse of an outside wall at the Glens Falls Civic Center might affect the upcoming NYSPHSAA boys basketball final fours. (March 4, 2015).

   Coming this week: The first installment of the New York State Sportswriters Association all-state football team will be released this week. Football editor Steve Grandin has finished work on the selections, and the all-state honors in Classes B, C and D will be announced on this site Wednesday at 1 p.m.

   Extra points: Syracuse University women's basketball coach Quentin Hillsman picked up his 200th win with the Orange with an 86-50 rout of No. 12 Duke over the weekend and also picked up a verbal commitment from 6-foot-2 Grand Street Campus junior Shaniqua Edwards.


  
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