Leading off today:
Aquinas completed an unprecedented championship feat
Sunday, defeating Middletown 68-50 for the NYSPHSAA boys Class AA basketball title at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Junior guard Jalen Pickett scored 10 of his game-high 28 points during the first quarter to start the Little Irish on their way to the win, making him and eight other Aquinas players the first athletes ever to win New York State Public High School Athletic Association football and basketball titles in the same school year. (More on that tomorrow.)
"We went undefeated in football. We lost a couple of (basketball) games early in the season, but we still knew we had something special," Pickett told the Democrat and Chronicle. "We got down here and knew that we might not get here again, so we had to play our hearts out."
Added teammate Jason Hawkes: "I never believed growing up that I'd even win a state championship. Two in one year, it's unbelievable right now."
Notre Dame-bound linebacker Jamir Jones added 14 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
• In Class A, Elmont joined Aquinas as a first-time champion by downing Troy 57-43.
Guard Travis Robinson-Morgan scored 15 points, including six straight in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Robinson-Morgan also had four of Elmont's 10 steals as the defense forced the Flying Horses into 23 turnovers.
The Elmont frontcourt of K.C. Ndefo (10 points, 13 rebounds) and Jalen Burgess (19 points, six rebounds) had a strong game at both ends of the court, minimizing the damage of 6-11 Troy post player Jack McLaren (13 points, nine rebounds).
"We have a saying about rebounding," Burgess told Newsday. "It's heart over height."
NYSPHSAA girls finals: Tournament MVP Kelsey Shaulis scored eight of her game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter to help South Seneca wrap up a 63-49 victory vs. Pine Plains in the Class C title contest at Hudson Valley Community College.
Bailey Minges (10 points, 11 rebounds) contributed a double-double and Emily Lavarnway chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds.
South Seneca went on a 11-5 run to close out the first half with a 29-19 lead. A putback by Skylar Shaulis, five straight points from Kelsey Shaulis, a conversion off one of Pine Plains' 11 first-half turnovers and two Kelsey Shaulis free throws powered the key sequence.
• In Class D, Paige McCormick navigated her way through foul trouble to score 27 points and lead Heuvelton past Panama 62-60 for its second consecutive championship and 31st straight victory.
McCormick sat out the entire second quarter after picking up her second foul late but senior Nathalie Barr (15 points)and Madison McCormick (18) kept the offense moving.
"It was difficult for me," Paige McCormick said. "I wanted to be out there and contribute a lot. They stepped up and played together."
Later, Barr hit two free throws with :30 left to give Heuvelton a safe 62-55 lead.
Panama's Emilee Sperry and Taylor Bowen scored 17 and 14 points, respectively.
CHSAA boys finals: Xaverian, which finished fourth in its division during the regular season, continued a dream run in the postseason by rallying to edge Bishop Loughlin 59-56 in the Class AA championship Sunday at Fordham University.
Game MVP Nyonty Wisseh finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Zach Bruno scored 18. Brandon Leftwich added 13 points as Xaverian (18-11) advanced to Friday's