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Tuesday, May 3, 2016: Millea, McCormick repeat as players of the year

   Leading off today: Two small-school guards have repeated as players of the year on the New York State Sportswriters Association girls all-state basketball team announced Tuesday.

   Cooperstown senior Liz Millea was selected player of the year in Class C after sharing the honor a season ago. In Class D, Heuvelton junior Paige McCormick was once again selected player of the year.

   The others selected as players of the year are:

  • Class AA: Christ the King senior guard Dominique Toussaint.
  • Class A: Co-recipients Corinn Baggs of Staten Island Academy and Meg Hair of Jamesville DeWitt.
  • Class B: Daisha Davis of East Harlem Pride.
   Toussaint is the only first-team repeat selection in Class AA. She previously was selected Miss Basketball by the Basketball Coaches Association of New York and the state's player of the year by Gatorade.

   Baggs was a first-team selection a year ago in Class B. Two first-team picks from the 2015 Class A squad -- Daniella Dean of Maine-Endwell and Kaela Hilaire of Floral Park -- returned to this year's first team in the Class, and 2015 "B" honoree Alexis Fotopoulos of Hampton Bays also made the first team.

   In Class B, Section 4 stars Meghan Komendarek of Norwich and Lexi Levy of Seton Catholic repeated as first-team picks.

   Joining Millea of the Class C first team once again is senior guard Danielle Migliore of


   The complete 2016 all-state team has been posted online, divided into two files: Classes AA and A and Classes B, C and D.

   Following up: The surprising ouster of Somers girls basketball coach Kristi Dini last week continues to be news in Section 1, and The Journal News reported Sunday on an episode involving district Superintendent Dr. Raymond Blanch that may have been a factor.

   According to the paper, more than half a dozen witnesses recounted a heated exchange at an AAU tournament game a little more than a year ago between the East Coast Panthers, coached by Chris Vitale and Blanch, and Dini's New York Extreme Hoops team.

   The sources told the paper the Panthers coaches lashed out at Dini after one of her players sank a 3-pointer in the final seconds of a 51-38 win, saying Dini had "no class" and using vulgar language towards her.

   "There definitely was, I guess I'll use the word 'drama,'" Dini said. "So after last spring ... I chose, after some situations, to not coach any of the games against (Vitale and Blanch's) teams."

   Dini arranged for a parent to step in whenever her team had to face Vitale and Blanch. She did not attend those games.

   "I thought that it would be in the best interest of me, the kids, the parents, and my Somers (varsity) program -- not my AAU program -- to not go to those games," Dini said.

   Costly mistake: In a Texas case involving one of the nation's top high school basketball teams, the University Interscholastic State League's executive committee rejected two Katy baseball players' appeal and upheld 20 forfeits that destroyed a 21-0 start to the season.

   Grant Jackman and Hayden Baker were found to have violated UIL rules regarding amateur status by accepting money as assistant coaches for a local Little League team.

   Jackman and Baker were paid $1,500 between February and April to do what has been described as "grunt work" such as keeping the scorebook, helping youngsters put on equipment and collecting baseballs. The players returned the money and the school self-reported the violation.

   Extra points: Dontay Caruthers, a first-team all-state player in Class A as a Rochester East senior who scored almost at will, is set to continue his basketball career at the University at Buffalo. The point guard signed with the Bulls after playing one season at Midland College in Texas and sitting out this past season at an Iowa junior college due to an injury.

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