Leading off today:
Section 1 basketball is leaving its longstanding championships home for a smaller, less expensive venue.
The section, which began conducting boys playoff games in Westchester County Center in 1933 and moved the girls there in 1999, announced Monday that the 2018 finals will shift to Pace University and semifinals to sites to be determined, The Journal News reported.
"Section 1 has been a great partner. They have changed their format regarding the four counties they represent and made a business decision," said Peter Tartaglia, the deputy commissioner for the Westchester County Parks Department. "We had discussions and offered to lower our already discounted use of the County Center. We respect their decision and wish Section 1 and all of the athletes nothing but the best during the finals."
Pace's Goldstein Center seats 2,400 spectators compared to a capacity of over 4,000 at the WCC, which installed a new floor prior to last winter's playoffs.
"I'm just disappointed that the adults that made the decision, in my opinion, didn't do what's best for kids," Ossining girls coach Dan Ricci told the paper. "I understand there are money issues and all that stuff. Bottom line is, we're all here to help kids. Most kids dream to play basketball at the County Center. Those kids' dreams are shattered today."
Section 1 Executive Director Jennifer Simmons said in the announcement that the section tried to do what's best for the competitors.
"Every year we assess how to best serve student-athletes competing for a championship," she said. "This move allows us the opportunity to offer top-notch facilities, a central location and a collegiate atmosphere unmatched in the region."
• A year after being almost completely frozen out of the downtown Blue Cross Arena by a scheduling mistake, Section 5 has received a confirmation from the building's management that the boys basketball committee can hold championship games there through 2020.
Section 5 boys basketball coordinator Jack Purificato told the Democrat and Chronicle that there is a three-year contract with SMG.
The section was able to play only two of its nine finals at BCA a year ago. There will be eight finals spread over the first weekend in March 2018.
Playing at BCA is more expensive than using college gyms, but even relatively unattractive large-school finals draw crowds that can only be accommodated at the downtown arena.
Calling all helpers, Part 1: We've begun work on the 2017 New York State Sportswriters Association all-state football teams, and this is our annual request for assistance.
As usual, we are asking reporters to send in their selections (we will not publish your picks, just use them in the selection of our teams) by Dec. 15. Since the all-area teams picked by various publications tend to be dominated by players (usually from the skill positions) from large-school teams, getting lists of top players from the five classes, including linemen, will help speed up our process.
Similarly, it would be helpful if the respective league or sectional chairmen could send copies of all-league teams.