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Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016: Westhill coaches, residents rally to support AD

   Leading off today: More than 200 colleagues, friends and students showed up at the Westhill school board meeting Tuesday to show support for Jennie Smarrelli, whose position as the district's AD and an assistant middle school principal apparently is in jeopardy, reported.

   Multiple coaches spoke on behalf of Smarrelli, who was hired in 2014. According to those in attendance and an online petition supporting Smarrelli, school board members last week told Smarrelli to either resign or be let go at the conclusion of the three-year probationary contract next June.

   The school board offered no public reason for such a move, and none of the five members or superintendent Casey Barduhn would comment directly on the situation or even confirm that such a discussion took place. Smarrelli was not at the meeting and attempts to reach her were unsuccessful.

   However, several speakers supporting Smarrelli claimed the board's issue with her stems from a decision earlier this year to not renew the appointments for two junior varsity lacrosse coaches. Speakers alleged the father of one of the coaches approached board vice president Gary Lowery, and that led to the threat against her job.

   The website also reported speakers alleged the school board met without the superintendent and, in a 3-2 vote, agreed to get rid of Smarrelli.

   Boys soccer: Sweet Home's Noah Keem scored seven goals Wednesday in a 9-3 triumph at West Seneca East, helping the Panthers claim a share of the ECIC II title with defending champion Hamburg. Keem has 32 goals and 12 assists on the season.

   Tuesday milestone: Grand Island senior Madisyn Pezzino has become the most prolific goal scorer is New York girls soccer history when she hit the back of the net five times in an 8-0 victory over Lockport.

   The sixth-year varsity player raised her total to 237 goals for her career with one regular-season contest and then playoff action remaining. She passed Molly Petrucci of City Honors, who set the section 6 and NYSPHSAA marks of 235 last season.

   The record-breaker came about six minutes into the second half, setting off a wild celebration.

   "At the end the dog pile was the best feeling ever," Pezzino told Western NY Athletics. "Having all my teammates totally tackle me. I know I couldn't have done it without them."

   Pezzino has committed to play for Florida State next fall.

   Two deaths to report: Dave Sachs, who coached three sports per year for nearly his entire career in the East Ramapo school district before retiring in 2013, died Tuesday at the age of 68 after suffering a heart attack.

   Sachs had been enlisted this fall to coach a modified girls soccer team.

   "When you think about Dave Sachs, he's a pro's pro," AD Bill Pilla told The Journal News. "He's a guy that, from Day 1, had a vision of what kind of a coach he wanted to be, and he followed that all the way until the end."

   Sachs won more than 300 boys varsity basketball games. When he took the soccer job this summer, he kept all 32 players who tried out because he wanted them all to gain experience, Pilla said.

   "He would've coached anything," Pilla said. "He's one of those guys who probably goes on vacation and sees somebody playing a sport and is ready to tell them, 'Hey, why don't you try this?' It doesn't matter where he's at, he was always a coach."

   In Western New York, former Iroquois football, softball and boys basketball coach Archie O'Bryan died after a lengthy illness. He was 64.

   His basketball teams won 273 games and one Section 6 Class B championship. After stepping down at Iroquois, the colorful coach assisted his son Erik at North Tonawanda and then at Niagara-Wheatfield. He served as an assistant at N-W until medical issues prevented him from doing that.

   An example of O'Bryan's theatrics, according to Erik O'Bryan: During one game the coach went to a box-and-one after halftime to shadow the guy who was hurting his team the most that day. The individual happened to be one of the referees. football site

   On the move: I haven't seen anyone report details thus far, but the all-knowing Joe Fenelon gave it a retweet this week, so I'm inclined to take it as fact:

   Reid was a third-team all-state pick in Class AA as a Bishop Loughlin junior guard last season. She would have likely would have made the first cut for the statewide Miss Basketball honor next season and was a reasonable bet to make the list of finalists.

    • In more girls news out of New York City, 6-foot-6 Fatoumata Konare has left Boys & Girls and resurfaced at Rock Creek Christian Academy in Maryland for her senior season.

   College commitments: With the early signing period coming up next month, ducks are falling into a row. (Is that the right metaphor or am I just punch drunk after binge-watching the new season of "Longmire" on Netflix?)

   Recent commitments by all-state girls basketball players include:

    • Selena Lott, a 10th-team pick as a Columbia junior last season, committed to Marquette. The four-year starter averaged 24 points and 10.5 rebounds last season.

    • As expected, Lexi Levy of Seton Catholic in Binghamton has switched her commitment from Hartford to George Washington in order to follow coach Jen Rizzotti, the former UConn star.

   Levi was a first-team all-state pick in Class B last winter.

    • Keith Williams, eighth-team all-state in boys Class AA basketball for Bishop Loughlin last season, has committed to Cincinnati. The shooting guard averaged 17 points and eight rebounds as a junior.

   His other offers included DePaul, Minnesota, Rutgers and Virginia Commonwealth.

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