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Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017: Mercy wins behind junior's huge double-double

   Leading off today: Junior forward Katie Titus' monster effort -- 26 points and 21 rebounds -- carried Our Lady of Mercy to a 75-65 victory over Bishop Kearney in a matchup of state-ranked Section 5 girls basketball teams Monday.

   Junior guard Traiva Breedlove added 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Monarchs, ranked 14th in Class AA by the New York State Sportswriters Association. Kearney is ranked 18th.

   Kearney broke to an 11-0 lead at the start, but Mercy rattled off the first 15 points of the second quarter.

   "If you look at the last couple games we've had against each other, that's just the way it is," Monarchs coach Tom Vasey told the Democrat and Chronicle. "It doesn't matter what team gets up. The other is coming back."

   Kearney eighth-grade guard Marianna Freeman scored 27 points, including nine in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Lytoya Baker had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

   More girls basketball: MacKenzie Martin (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Morgan Elmer (16 points) led Westhill to a mild Class B upset of previously unbeaten Bishop Grimes in Section 3 by a 51-46 score.

   Bishop Grimes is ranked 20th and Westhill 23rd this week.

   Grimes closed a 29-17 halftime deficit to one point to start the fourth quarter.

    • Olean sophomore guard Sara Pfeiffer broke a school record with 51 points in a 74-53 over Fredonia, ranked 17th in Class B. Pfeiffer scored 19 first-quarter points and made eight 3-pointers in the contest.

   "It was a spectacular 51 points," Olean coach Randy Samuelson told the Times-Herald. "I didn't know she had 51. I was flabbergasted. I knew she had a lot, but 51's a lot of points and the other team only scored 53 ... and they're good. It's the best team we've played, and she wants to be the best."

   Boys basketball: Down by nine heading into the fourth quarter, Sauquoit Valley rallied to a 45-42 upset of Waterville, ranked seventh in Class C.

   Forward Antonio Grande finished with a game-high 22 points.

   Following up: There's been a bit of an unexpected (at least by me) twist to a story from a couple of days ago.

   Saturday's blog summarized a report on the Beacon boys basketball team forfeiting its seven victories due to the use of an ineligible player. Combined with the fact that the school district announced it was also forfeiting football victories over the use of the same unidentified player, I figured it was an instance of a fifth-year senior -- probably still the most frequent cause of forfeits.

   But the Poughkeepsie Journal reported that the player in question will in fact be eligible to return next week, which suggests some sort of issue with a district policy. However, basketball coach Scott Timpano told the paper all of his players "have gotten done in the classroom exactly what they need to," so that seems to rule out one possibility.

   Going pro: Ohio State junior Curtis Samuel announced on Twitter that he will forgo his final season of eligibility to declare for the NFL draft. Samuel was Ohio State's leading receiver and third-leading rusher (771 yards on just 97 carries) this season.

   Samuel was selected Gatorade's New York player of the year following his senior football season at Erasmus Hall in the PSAL and was selected first-team all-state by the NYSSWA in 2013.

   Going to Minnesota: Syracuse University's Dino Babers caught flak a year ago when he concentrated on recruiting the Midwest after arriving from Bowling Green. After arriving in mid-December, he felt he needed to go after the prospects he knew and who projected to fit into his offensive and defensive schemes in Central New York, even if some were graded as two-star recruits instead of the general ACC standard of three stars or better.

   Well, P.J. Fleck has embraced the same philosophy but has done it at warp speed. Fleck, who was hired by the University of Minnesota last week, flipped six of his former Western Michigan recruits in a single day.

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