Leading off today:
I'm just going to touch very briefly on a pile of results from the past two days because I mostly want to delve into a combination skiing/football story. (Seriously. You'll understand once I get there.)
Nice recovery: Eldred's boys basketball team won its opener in November and then lost seven straight. Slowly, the Yellow Jackets turned it around. And though they're still sub-.500, they're now Section 9 Class D champions.
Erek Binkowski and Andrew Halloran scored 11 points apiece to help Eldred (10-11) past Livingston Manor (5-13) 50-32 on Wednesday for the championship. Eldred used an 18-0 run between the first and second quarters to pull away.
Eldred won its first boys basketball title since 1991-92. Eldred had played in each of the three previous sectional Class C championship games, losing them all by 30 or more points.
Eldred will play defending state Class D champ Bridgehampton of Section 11 in the opening round of the state tournament Tuesday.
Section 4 shocker: Kaitlynn Finch hit three 3-pointers in the second half, Logan Bruce made the back end of a two-shot free-throw opportunity with 1.1 seconds left in regulation, and Delhi forced a pair of turnovers in the final minute of overtime for a 56-54 girls basketball victory over South Kortright in a Section 4 Class D semifinal at SUNY Oneonta.
South Kortright was the defending champ and returned much of its roster from the squad that fell to Heuvelton 61-54 in the NYSPHSAA state Class D title game last season.
"I don't know anybody besides our team who thought we would even get within single digits with South Kortright," Bruce told The Daily Star.
Monster effort: Williamsville East sophomore guard Erica Martinsen scored a school-record 50 points ... and her team needed every single one to defeat Hamburg 63-54 and advance to the Section 6 girls Class A-1 final.
Martinsen, who added nine rebounds, shot 8-for-13 from beyond the arc. She scored 17 of her team's 19 first-quarter points and scored nine straight Flames points to start the third quarter.
Stellar run by Neal: Fayetteville-Manlius senior Kaitlyn Neal lowered her Section 3 record in the indoor 3,000 meters by more than 11 seconds, recording a time of 9:28.59 in the state qualifier at SRC Arena.
Teammates Samantha Levy, Jenna Farrell and Claire Walters were second, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Tuesday leftovers: I didn't get a chance to note these yesterday, but they deserve a quick mention:
• Baldwinsville went two overtimes to upset Syracuse 4-3 in the Section 3 Division I hockey semifinals. Garrett Gray scored twice, including the game-winner on a breakaway with 5:42 remaining in the second overtime.
• Greece Athena, top-ranked in Class A, escaped Irondequoit 71-65 in the Section 5 boys basketball semifinals as Anthony Lamb scored 45 points. Lamb's two free throws with :05.9 to go forced overtimes.
Lamb, the lone starter back from last year's state tournament team, averages 30.7 points a game.
• Monday's individual champs in the slalom at the NYSPHSAA skiing championships came back Tuesday to complete alpine sweeps.
Aidan Cohane (Windham-Ashland-Jewett) won the boys giant slalom with a time of 1:31.17. Freshman Sarah Coombs (Saratoga) took the girls crown in 1:38.83.
In the nordic relays, Lake Plaid's boys and Honeoye Falls-Lima's girls earned championships.
What's in a name? As I caught up on results from the state ski meet early this week, the acronym for one of the participating schools slowed me down and sent me investigating because "RKFC" simply didn't mean anything to me other than maybe Rochester Kentucky Fried Chicken -- where we go every couple of weeks or so for the $5 Fill-Up Meal.
But I digress.
It turns out RKFC is a combined team. A very combined team, actually. Rondout Valley, Kingston, Hyde Park Roosevelt and Coleman Catholic from Section 9 are all rolled up into one.
And as recently as a couple of days ago that didn't seem to be of any great consequence. There are numerous such collaborations across the state in the various sports. Some of these combined teams even win state championships -- the 2013 boys hockey title by Syracuse CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt comes to mind.
Two-school combined programs in team sports presumably are a matter of necessity. One or both of the schools would not be able to field teams with any consistency without joining forces. I get that. What I don't get is why four schools need to be rolled up into one program for what is only marginally a team sport. Sure, there are team championships at stake at the sectional and state level, but those championships are awarded based upon points earned by individual performers -- similar to track and field or swimming, for example. And if one- or two-man teams can't add up to team crowns, those individuals can still compete for individual honors.