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Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016: Bridgehampton looks primed for title defense

   Leading off today: Bridgehampton sure looks ready for a serious run at defending its NYSPHSAA boys Class D basketball title.

   The Killer Bees closed the first quarter on a 14-0 run and went on to beat Stony Brook School 71-45 in the Suffolk County C-D game at Suffolk County CC-Brentwood.

   "We jumped out early. Our defense was unbelievable and so was our transition offense," Bridgehampton coach Carl Johnson told MSG Varsity. "This gives us a boost of confidence."

   Elijah Harding scored seven of his 13 points in the 14-0 surge, and Josh Lamison scored four of his 15. Point guard Tylik Furman finished with 14 points.

   The Bees (17-3) advance to Friday's B-CD game vs. Southampton.

   More boys basketball: Today's game of the day is a 1 p.m. matinee between Wings Academy and host Long Island Lutheran, being carried by Wings is ranked No. 2 this week by the New York State Sportswriters Association and LuHi is No. 7.

   Best read of the day: Vin Mercogliano of The Journal News hearkened me back to the early days of my career three decades ago by talking about his introduction to wrestling coverage six years ago.

   I think a lot of us in the business can nod in agreement as he recalls dipping a toe into wrestling six years ago. Aside from the chaos of having matches taking place on four, six or eight mats at once, there are probably 20 or 30 wrestling moves that are routinely executed and at least that many more that only occasionally get dragged out of the bag of tricks. That's a lot for a rookie reported to digest and try to report upon in an intelligent fashion.

   And, oh yeah, there are 300 or 3,000 fans in the gym screaming at the top of their lungs.

   "Quickly, I realized how passionate wrestling fans are," Mercogliano wrote. "Their sport has often been overlooked in favor of the more well-known American sports, but they'll defend it to the bitter end. Understandably, they were unsure about what to make of this new reporter they had never heard of. And they weren't shy about voicing their concerns."

   Yup. Been there, done that.

   Check out the full column here. And remember to show some love for your own local wrestling writer from time to time.

   And more basketball: An examination of my 2,500 or so blog entries over the years suggests otherwise, but there are some topics I'm squeamish about discussing. The academic status of high school athletes would be one of them.

   But when a player of note suddenly misses two late-season games, rumors and speculation start flying. And sometimes the talk gets so loud that, for better or worse, it morphs into a news story.

   And that's what has happened with Keith McGee.

   A year ago, McGee was one of the two key players who helped Leadership Academy of the Rochester City School District to the NYSPHSAA Class B semifinals in Glens Falls and was selected fourth-team all-state by the NYSSWA. This past fall, he enrolled at Greece Arcadia and has been the leading scorer. The Titans owe a chunk of their 16-4 record to his performance on the court.

   The Democrat and Chronicle reports McGee sat out the final two regular-season games after he was declared academically ineligible. And now a committee that included Arcadia admin-istrators and teachers and student and parent representatives upheld an appeal on McGee's behalf and reinstated him to the team.

   "It was an administrative misunderstanding, and we all had a part in it, Alvin McGee, the player's grandfather, told the paper. "We're not pointing the finger at anybody."

   Coach Roger Klimek said McGee will be in the starting lineup for the Section 5 Class A tournament.

   "I'm not going to go above and beyond the appeals committee," Klimek said. "I think he's been punished enough. He took it like a man and watched the team play two games without him from the bench."

   I'm sure it matters, but McGee is on at least his third high school. I recall being told he attended Bishop Kearney as a freshman and can't account for where he was as a sophomore.

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