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Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017: Loughlin boys advance in double overtime

   Leading off today: Keith Williams scored 37 points, including three free throws with no time remaining in regulation, as Bishop Loughlin downed Christ the King 98-90 in double overtime Wednesday and advanced to the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens boys basketball title game.

   It was the third time this season that Loughlin, ranked fifth in Class AA by the New York State Sportswriters Association, defeated the No. 7 Royals.

   "The first two was good and the last one, the gym just got louder and louder and I was like, 'You cannot miss Keith. You cannot miss,'" Williams said of the crucial free throws.

   Markquis Nowell added 20 points and 17 assists for Loughlin, which will play top seed Archbishop Molloy in Friday's title game.

   A three-minute scoring drought left Loughlin trailing 67-63 with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Lions' Tyrese Gaffney made a layup off a rebound, but Royals guard Jose Alvarado (20 points) made a free throw for a 70-67 lead. Williams received the inbounds pass and was hit on the arm 35 feet away from the basket by Alvarado, who committed his fifth foul of the game. Williams' free throws sent the game to OT.

   Kofi Cockburn's dunk pulled Christ the King into a 79-79 tie at the end of the first OT, but the Royals ran out of steam from there. Markquis Nowell scored on a layup and then found Adrian Nunez for a 3-point basket for an 87-82 lead with 1:43 remaining.

   More boys basketball: Syosset won its first playoff game since 1991, but it took a pair of overtimes. Griffin Halpern scored 29 points and Robert Kula added 22 as the Braves edged Calhoun 76-72 in the Section 8 Class AA tournament quarterfinals.

   Syosset made 24 of 27 free throws, including 8-for-8 in the overtime periods.

   Girls basketball: Carly Shear went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the last :30 to help Newark upset Aquinas 48-44 in the first round of the Section 5 Class B tournament.

   Aquinas is ranked 10th in the state this week.

   Shear finished with eight points, five rebounds and six steals. Ladonia Smith added 18 rebounds for the Reds.

   Scoring milestones: Joseph Girard III of Glens Falls scored his 2,000th point Tuesday in an 82-55 win over Coxsackie-Athens in the Section 2 Class B tournament.

   The sophomore reached the mark with the 34th of his 41 points, a free throw with 1:01 left in the third quarter. The game was stopped to acknowledge the milestone, and the large crowd gave him a standing ovation.

   As we've suggested before, it's not outlandish to think Girard could break the state record for career points -- 2,946 by Lance Stephenson -- before the end of his junior season.

    • Staten Island Academy's Clare Mitchell grabbed her 1,000th career rebound Tuesday in a loss to Archbishop Molloy and then scored her 2,000th point Wednesday in a 70-60 win over visiting Cardinal Spellman.    The Hillsdale College-bound forward, who began her career with two seasons at McKee/S.I. Tech, scored a game-high 23 points for the state's top-ranked Class A team.

   Her mother, Clare, scored 1,589 points in three seasons at Curtis; aunt Cathy Guerriero had 1,412 points over four seasons at St. Joseph Hill and Curtis; and aunts Cindy Lou Wiese (1,210) and Dot Guerriero (1,140) also went over 1,000.

   Apology for a lopsided win: Keene AD Matthew Mills sent a letter of apology to colleagues and coaches throughout Section 7 in the aftermath of a 104-13 rout of Chazy in a Feb. 8 girls basketball game, The Sun reported this week.

   "Our Athletic Program has always been one of playing hard but with good sportsmanship in mind," the letter said. "On behalf of the Administration here at Keene Central School we apologize for our lack of sportsmanship shown to Chazy and the rest of Section VII."

   The win boosted Keene's record at the time to 12-4. Senior Hannah Whitney was the top scorer with 47 points.

   Interesting feature: General Brown senior Luke Rogers has to rate as one of the least likely participants in the state wrestling tournament, which begins Friday in Albany.

The No. 2 seed at 220 pounds in Division II took the previous three seasons off from wrestling to concentrate on his lacrosse and only returned to the mat in his final year after some convincing from coaches and teammates.

   He's 30-3 after defeating previously unbeaten Antonio Cutrie of Chittenango in the Section 3 championships.

   "I came back because it was my senior year and I didn't want to regret not wrestling," Rogers said. "It was a big part of my life for a long time."

   Soccer rules changes: Players will be permitted to use a stutter step or a hesitation move when taking a penalty kick as long as there is continuous movement, one of eight changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations' soccer rules committee at its meeting last month.

   The rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors, the organization announced this week.

   According to a change in Rule 14-1-4 dealing with penalty kicks, stutter-stepping is not an interruption of movement toward the ball.

   Also noteworthy, the rules will also now allow for kicking the ball in any direction to begin play. Previously, the ball had to be kicked forward from the center of the field to begin play at the beginning of the game, after halftime and after each goal.

   As an aside, a team cannot score into its own net directly off the kickoff since it is treated as a free kick.

   In a move likely to generate quite a bit of discussion in the coming months, the committee agreed to permit players to use soft-padded headgear that meets the ASTM standard.

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