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Friday, Dec. 30, 2016: R-H's Watson puts up impressive double at Armory

   Leading off today: I'm typically loath to make predictions about high school athletes on two counts: (1) It amounts to an unnecessary burden of expectations on kids who generally aren't even old enough to drive after dark or vote and (2) my batting average over the years is probably closer to the the Mendoza Line than the Hall of Fame.

   Having said that, I'm going to swing for the fences anyway.

   It says here Sammy Watson will become the third New York athlete to be selected Gatorade's national high school athlete of the year next spring, joining Greg Paulus (Syracuse CBA football, 2004) and Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse basketball, 2012) in that respect.

   The Rush-Henrietta track star already carried a vast list of accomplishments into her senior year, including consecutive 400/1,500 doubles at the NYSPHSAA outdoor championships and international triumphs at the World Youth Games in 2015 and the World Junior Championships this past summer. After starting the fall with a less than optimal base, she concluded her cross country season by running sixth in the NYSPHSAA Class A championships and third at the Federation meet.

   And now there's the indoor season.

   The senior, who has not yet announced her college plans, scored an impressive double Thursday in the Marine Corps Holiday Classic at The Armory in New York City.

   With absolutely no one able to apply heat, she split 1:03.7 and 1:03.2 to win the 800 meters in 2:06.92 (fifth all-time in New York), destroying an 8-year-old record (2:09.48) by Hempstead's Charlene Lipsey and crossing the line more than eight seconds ahead of the field.

   Though there would be no meet record in Watson's other event, all she did in the 300 meters was win in :39.24 to handily defeat defending champion -- and meet record holder -- Destiny Ward (:39.51) of Oscar Smith High in Virginia.

   Next up: Watson is likely to stalk the national high school mark of 2:43.4 in the 1,000 meters in mid-January at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

   Class A makeover ahead: We'd already seen losses this week by No. 1 Byram Hills, No. 3 Canisius, No. 4 Elmont and No. 5 Holy Trinity in boys Class A basketball.

   It was second-ranked Park School's turn Thursday to show up on the short end of the scoreboard. Elijah Buchanan scored the first six points of overtime to lead Mount St. Michael to a 61-56 victory over Park in the Josh Palmer Fund Elmira Holiday Inn Classic.

   Buchanan finished with 26 points and six rebounds.

   In the consolation bracket, unranked Horseheads (3-4) recovered from an 18-point deficit in the first quarter to edge Canisius 58-56. Mike Limoncelli (18 points) made a go-ahead 3-pointer with :07 remaining.

   More boys basketball: Buffalo Health Sciences, ranked fifth in Class B by the New York State Sportswriters Association, needed overtime to knock off No. 16 Rochester Early College 59-55. Wize Threat and Davonte Gianes scored 15 apiece.

   Milestone, part 1: Irondequoit's Chris Cardon won his 400th boys basketball game in 30 seasons as the Eagles improved to 8-0 with a 64-37 rout of Pittsford Sutherland.

   "You've got to love the game, have enthusiasm and work hard," Cardon told the Democrat and Chronicle. "I get just as much excitement going to practice as I do games."

   Milestone, part 2: There's a technicality attached to the accomplishment, but what Andra Espinoza-Hunter did Thursday in the Slam Dunk Tournament consolation game still rates with feats by the biggest names in New York girls basketball.

   Espinoza-Hunter dropped 51 points in Ossining's 86-64 win over Bishop Loughlin, crossing the 2,000 mark for her career. Less than half of the UConn commit's total has come at Ossining, where she started her scholastic career before three seasons and 1,163 points at Blair Academy in N.J. She returned to Section 1 this fall.

   More girls basketball: Playing without Jenna Annecchiarico, sitting out with a fever a day after a 35-point effort, Baldwin raced to a big lead and beat Ursuline 60-50 for the Slam Dunk Tournament championship.

   Aziah Hudson scored 19 points and Kaia Harrison added 17. Hudson was selected MVP for the two-game tournament after scoring 21 against Ossining on Wednesday.

   Baldwin's Nadia Elcock completed a four-point play with :15.4 left in the third quarter, putting the Bruins up 47-37 heading into the final quarter.

    • The Mary Louis Academy, rated fourth in Class AA, edged Class A No. 2 Jamesville-DeWitt 58-54 in the Diamond Classic in Washington, D.C.

    • Rochester's Bishop Kearney, 18th in Class AA, downed Westhill, 25th in Class B, 55-42.

    • Annabelle Hinds broke her own school record with 46 points as Northstar Christian edged Rochester East 67-59 in the Livonia Shootout.

    • Lab Museum United, ranked third in Class A, remained unbeaten with a 61-47 win over William C. Bryant in PSAL action in Manhattan. Delilah Kalle finished with 20 points and Dasha Goodman added 19 for Lab Museum.

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