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Monday, March 14, 2016: Mamaroneck, Kenmore East win in dramatic finishes

   Leading off today: Mamaroneck won its first NYSPHSAA Division 1 hockey championship Sunday in Buffalo, but not without -- literally -- some last-second drama.

   Junior Tommy Spero made 27 saves to make Michael Carducci's goal 3:24 into the game stand up for a 1-0 win over West Genesee at HarborCenter.

   "I promised (coach Mike Chiapparelli) when I was 8 years old that I was going to win him a state title," Spero told The Journal News. "I wasn't going to break that promise.'

   Said Chiapparelli: "He actually told the guys, 'Get out of my way, I'll stop everything. Just don't screen me,'" Chiapparelli said. "It was the only thing he was worried about."

   The best of West Genesee's third-period scoring chances came in the closing seconds of the game during a wild scramble in the crease after the Wildcats pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. The goal light came on, but the referee emphatically waved off Ryan McDonald's apparent goal, blowing the play dead with six-tenths of a second to go.

   Spero told he had no doubt the play was dead and the goal wouldn't count.

   "I felt the puck underneath my pants and I knew that there was no way there were going to poke that in. I squeezed myself as tight as I could to not let that puck go in the net," Spero said. "They poked it in a couple seconds after the ref blew the whistle. I knew it wasn't a goal."

   Chiapparelli said Westchester County's first state hockey title was a three-decade effort.

   "Our community has put a lot of resources in and we've worked really hard. I started coaching these guys years ago," he said. "All my coaches over the last 33 years helped build this program -- getting our butt kicked at first, but we got on the bus we won four tournaments this year. Just a great job by our kids."

   Division II hockey: Trevor Pray tied the game late in regulation and scored in overtime as Kenmore East beat Skaneateles 3-2.

   Pray, a coach's kid who tagged along for years before becoming old enough to play, goes out in style.

   "It's just an unbelievable feeling," Pray told The Buffalo News. "I grew up with this team. It's kind of upsetting that I have to take off the jersey but it's a great way to end my senior year."

   Both of Pray's goals, including the gamer with :40.1 to go in the extra session, were set up by A.J. Marinelli, who thought he had scored to win the game himself seconds before Pray connected.

   The linemates shared the team lead in scoring during the regular season with 14 goals and 15 assists each. Pray then put up 17 goals over six sectional and state playoff games, many courtesy of Marinelli's playmaking.

   R-H's Watson repeats: Junior Sammy Watson of Rush-Henrietta won the girls 800 meters at the New Balance indoor track and field championships Sunday in New York City. Her time of 2:05.11 ranks third in state history and seventh all-time nationally.

   "Nationals are the only time she runs the 800 (indoors)," Royal Comets coach Mike DeMay said. "She got kind of boxed in, and got spiked, but once she broke out of the pack she took control."

   Huntington's boys 1,600 relay of Lawrence Leake, Kyree Johnson, Shane McGuire and Infinite Tucker triumphed in 3:16.09, the fastest in the country this season and the cap to an unbeaten season.

   Glens Falls notes: After three straight years of stellar local fan support to witness three Section 2 teams capture NYSPHSAA championships, the odds caught up with Glens Falls in its final year of hosting before Binghamton takes over for 2017-19.


  • 2016 NYSPHSAA boys basketball brackets
  • 2016 NYSPHSAA girls basketball brackets
  • 2016 NYSPHSAA boys hockey brackets
  • 2016 N.Y. complete wrestling brackets (PDF)
  • 2016 N.Y. boys swim championships
  • N.Y. indoor track championships: Boys | Girls

  •    With Troy the only local team playing in the finals of the two largest classes, Sunday attendance at the Glens Falls Civic Center was just 1,381. Total attendance for five sessions over three days was 16,479, a drop from the 18,636 in 2015.

       Glens Falls hosted the NYSPHSAA boys event for 36 straight years but lost out in controversial fashion when the contract came up for renewal. The boys basketball committee twice voted to stay in Section 2, but NYSPHSAA administrators and the organization's Executive Committee ultimately opted for a vastly superior financial package from Binghamton.

       Glens Falls has won back the Federation tournament beginning in 2017 and will have time to make arena improvements that would make the venue more attractive when the next three-year contract comes up for bids.

       In the interim, local tournament officials remain bitter, The Post-Star reported.

       "It just blows my mind that something can be so successful and they just take it away," the veteran tournament director told the paper. "It's really hard not to take it personally, because we know we are going to make more money than Binghamton. I think the decision is more politicized than anything else."

       Kenyon said there have been recent meetings between community leaders and NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas, who declined to speak on the record this weekend according to the paper, and they have not gone well.

       "The leadership could be better," Kenyon said. "Since Robert has taken over, things seem to have run amok."

       The profit/loss ledger in high school sports is largely dictated by attendance, but the NYSPHSAA in essence starts off $20,000 ahead of the game next year based on the contract specifics. If Section 4 advances two schools to the semifinals and gets one to the title game, it could be enough to net the same estimated profit -- in the $135,000 range -- that Glens Falls will make this year.

       An early barometer will come this spring when financials get reported on this past weekend's state hockey final fours. The event was moved from longtime host Utica to Buffalo because of a superior financial package.

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