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Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016: Canisius basketball edges Aquinas to win tourney

   Leading off today: It's typically a pretty good matchup in any sport when Canisius and Aquinas get together, and it's been especially true in basketball in recent years thanks to some fiercely competitive games.

   When the rivalry was renewed Saturday, the host Crusaders defeated Aquinas 43-38 to claim a fifth straight Tom Keenan Memorial Tournament title. Canisius is the defending CHSAA Class A champion and Aquinas is coming off the Class AA title in the NYSPHSAA tournament.

   Jayce Johnson led Canisius with 12 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Brendan Trapper and Nick MacDonald chipped in with 10 points apiece. Aquinas senior Jalen Pickett, the tournament MVP, piled up 23 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and three assists.

   Canisius made just 15 of 51 attempts from the field, including 3-for-15 on 3-pointers. Aquinas was just 15 of 57 and was outrebounded 42-36.

   Girls basketball: In-season tournaments are a dime a dozen, and those with very attractive fields are also commonplace. My favorite in the bunch tends to be the tourney that brings together four teams from four different sections/organizations; by the time it's over we usually have some insight into the relative strength of each of those regions.

   On Saturday, Cardinal O'Hara beat Albertus Magnus 71-60 and Jamesville-DeWitt downed Rochester's Bishop Kearney 46-38 in the first round of J-D's Best of New York Basketball Tournament.

   Anndea Zeigler had 17 points and nine rebounds for the O'Hara. Cori Dickson added 15 points and Kiera Johnson scored 12.

   J-D got 13 points from junior Meg Hair and 10 from junior Jamie Boeheim. Kearney, which started three eighth-graders, got 17 points from Saniaa Wilson.

   J-D and O'Hara will play Sunday for the title.

   Indoor track: It's far too early in the season to get excited about anyone ranking No. 1 in the nation in a particular event. Still ...

   Lanae-Tava Thomas of Rush-Henrietta won the 55 meters in :07.07 (after qualifying in :07.04) and the long jump in 20-1 at the Ithaca College Bomber Invitational. Both marks moved the junior to the front of the national H.S. leaderboard, and the jump was only two inches off her career best -- a mark that in itself is fourth in the state all-time.

   Jessica Lawson of Corning didn't reach No. 1 in the nation, but she did fire off a hot 4:26.44 in the 1,500 meters at the same meet. That's third in state history, which is pretty good when you note the names at No. 1 (Molly Huddle, 4:22.1 in 2001) and No. 2 (Mary Cain).

   Foot Locker finals: University of Oregon recruit Reed Brown became the first Texan since 1985 to win the boys title at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in San Diego.

   Brown, who covered 5K in 15:01.8, is the sixth future Duck to win in eight years.

   Former Carthage star Noah Affolder, now running for Carlisle (Pa.), was sixth in 15:10.3.

   Claudia Lane of Malibu, Calif., won the girls championship in 17:04.8.


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  •    For the first time in meet history, there were no New York representatives in the field.

       Following up: A class-action lawsuit filed by the Newark school system alleges that FieldTurf, the country's leading manufacturer of artificial turf fields, defrauded it and other schools across New Jersey.

       Citing reporting last week by New Jersey Advance Media, the suit in state Supreme Court alleges FieldTurf concealed defects that caused certain turf material to deteriorate faster than the company's marketing led customers to believe.

       Milestone: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake wrestler Christian Gramuglia picked up career win No. 200 over the weekend at the Linda Stuart Duals in Colonie. Gramuglia was fourth in the state in Division I at 132 pounds last February.

       Another huge effort: It was outside the high school ranks, but Pelham sophomore swimmer Kate Douglass added to her amazing resume Thursday at the Winter Junior National Championships.

       Douglass won the 50-meter freestyle in the 15- to 16-year-old age group in :22.04 seconds, a time that tied the U.S. age group mark of three-time 2016 Olympics medalist Simone Manuel.

       "I'm so happy with my race," Douglass told The Journal News. "After dropping some time at sectionals and states, I wasn't sure if I would do that here but I did so that's great."

       Extra points: Daily Star sports reporter Steven Derderian has worked his final shift in Oneonta and is moving on to a position with the Cape Cod Times in his home state of Massachusetts. Matthew Johnson, himself a relative newcomer, takes over as the staff's primary guy while the paper starts the search for Derderian's replacement.

       I neglected to mention previously that former Rochester part-timer Andy Lipari had joined the Finger Lakes Times in Geneva as a full-time sports reporter alongside new sports editor Pat McDonald.

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