Baldwinsville Bowling

F-M Lacrosse

Liverpool Swimming
Jack Andrejko, Josh Foley, Brandon Nguyen, Ian Denny, Julien Brownlow, Curtis Merrick, Griffin Merkling

Fayetteville-Manlius ice hockey
Will Duncanson, Ben Hammond
Christian Brothers Academy Boys Basketball
R.J. Romeo, Luke Valenti, Chris Catalano, Colin Kelly, Will Mackenzie, Jason Boule
Baldwinsville Boys Basketball
Dan Fabrizio, Nate Ray, J.J. Starling

Here is the top 10 for the Web site for the Inside High School Sports show for the week of December 3, presented by Holbrook Heating & Air Conditioning…

1. Could General Brown bring a state football championship home to Dexter? Section III’s lone remaining team made it through a tough state Class C semifinal against Lackawanna at Union-Endicott, the Lions prevailing 29-20 by overcoming a 20-16 halftime deficit, physically wearing down a Steelers team playing its second game in five days. Gabe Malcolm and Sheamus Devine combined for 200 yards on the ground behind General Brown’s tremendous offensive line. Having lost a state final in 2010, the Lions will try again for the ultimate prize Saturday night at 6 p.m. at the JMA Wireless Dome when it faces O’Neill, a Section IX school from Highland Falls in the Hudson Valley near West Point. Neither school has ever won a state football championship before.

2. The reason General Brown was left alone to represent Section III football was that, again, Cicero-North Syracuse was stopped in the state Class AA semifinals. After scoring the game’s first touchdown in last Saturday’s rematch of the 2021 semifinal with Buffalo Bennett, the Northstars were shut down the rest of the way as the Tigers took charge and pulled away to win 34-7, the fifth straight time C-NS was beaten in this state semifinal round. Bennett faces Newburgh in the state final as, in Class A, Union-Endicott will face Somers, Maine-Endwell will go for a fifth state title (and second in row) against Pleasantville and Tioga, looking to repeat in Class D, meets Cambridge/Salem. It took state finalists to knock out four different sectional champions – C-NS, West Genesee, Homer and Dolgeville.

3. The most important news this week for winter sports was that Section III and ice hockey officials reached an agreement on Monday to settle their dispute. Though the pay for games will remain the same, the fact that most games will have three officials instead of two translates to more opportunities to officiate and roughly the same in terms of expenses. Best of all, a full schedule is back on, including an “Ice Breaker” Tournament at Shove Park where West Genesee and Skaneateles would meet one another and then face Baldwinsville and Syracuse. Everyone else returns, too, with 12 teams in Division I and eight in Division II. At State Fair Coliseum this weekend, Fayetteville-Manlius and Liverpool, who both call the rink home, meets visiting Section II teams Bethlehem and Albany CBA.

4. This is also the week where most basketball teams get underway, too. It starts on the boys side with most teams still in their own classes except for Utica Academy of Science, who moves up from Class B to A. Liverpool defends the sectional AA title led by highly-touted forward Andreo Ash, while in Class A New Hartford returns its superstar senior Zach Philipkoski from a team that got all the way to the state championship game a year ago. Chittenango has most of its lineup, led by Alex Moesch, back from its first sectional Class B title team in 45 years. West Canada is the defending sectional champions in Class C but has already lost to Sauquoit Valley in an early-season tournament as Cincinnatus defends the Class D title after upsetting unbeaten Hamilton in last year’s sectional title game.

5. Among the opening-week boys basketball games to watch is the Peppino’s Invitational, hosted Friday at CBA and Saturday at Jamesville-DeWitt, with eight varsity games to watch during those two days.  On Friday there’s J-D against West Genesee, a sectional Class AA finalist last year, along with Chittenango facing CBA, who lost that memorable triple-overtime sectional Class AA semifinal to eventual champion Liverpool last February. Saturday’s games include CBA against J-D, Baldwinsville and new coach Patrick Beilein debuts against traditional power Westhill, Rome Free Academy against Corcoran, Nottingham against Bishop Grimes and Fayetteville-Manlius, who will be led by outstanding senior Trevor Roe, against Utica Proctor.

6. New Hartford’s boys basketball team, ready to accept the bullseye as the Class A favorites, begins its season testing itself against Albany Academy, all part of a challenging slate where the Spartans are playing nine of its first 11 games on the road, including a holiday tournament at Nazareth College and a date with Fayetteville-Manlius. But New Hartford is far from alone in terms of ridiculously challenging schedules. Without a league to play in after moving up from the Class B to the Class A ranks, Utica Academy of Science has to make its own extensive series of road trips, either to play teams in Albany or, in a few cases, Buffalo or Rochester-area teams – all told, the Atoms will log more than 2,000 bus miles before it even reaches the post-season.

7. Moving to girls basketball, we’ve already seen Jamesville-DeWitt perhaps establish itself as the Class A favorite given Bishop Ludden’s promotion to the AA ranks, the Red Rams beating Baldwinsville in the Bees’ own tip-off tournament over Thanksgiving weekend and then taking on Liverpool – only to see the Warriors win big, 64-34. Also worth noticing is how General Brown, a team that won the sectional Class B title and reached the state final four a year ago, opened Monday by hammering Watertown 65-21 on Monday night and would take on Carthage later in the week. Bishop Grimes, whom the Lions beat in last year’s sectional final, opened with a key game Tuesday at Marcellus, expected to be another top contender, with the Cobras winning 32-51.

8. This was also the week where Section III wrestlers get underway. In 2022 two different wrestlers from Homer, Talan Hubbard and Sam Sorenson, won state championships – Hubbard at 110 pounds, Sorenson at 215 pounds. Both are back this season, with Sorenson committed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and coming off leading Homer to a second straight sectional Class B football title. Central Valley Academy swept team small-school honors last season at the sectional Dual Meet and Division II championships, while Indian River and Fulton were the top large schools. Fulton met Cicero-North Syracuse on Tuesday in its season opener as at week’s end, C-NS would also host the Andersen Tournament, while APW/Pulaski also hosts a dual meet.

9. Many of Section III’s top cross country runners took part in last weekend’s Nike New York/Northeast Regionals at Bowdoin Park, with Baldwinsville’s boys state Class A champion, Solomon Holden-Betts, finishing fourth in the New York Championship, just ahead of Fayetteville-Manlius’ Nolan McGinn in fifth place and West Genesee’s Peter McMahon in 11th place. Meanwhile, in the girls NY Championship F-M’s Izzie Sullivan took sixth place and Auburn freshman Kylee Brady was 12th. And it all took place mere days before the indoor track season got underway, with boys and girls teams beginning a series of meets at both SRC Arena and Utica College, with the CNYITA teams taking part in the Jack Morse Kickoff Meet at OCC.

10. Some area boys and girls bowling teams began their seasons before Thanksgiving, with Baldwinsville the defending girls sectional Class A champions already owning impressive wins over Oswego and Central Square, returning most of its top bowlers from a season ago. There’s also good starts on the boys side from Central Square and Auburn. Boys swimming teams have started this week, too, with Fayetteville-Manlius (Class A) and Mexico (Class B) the defending sectional champions on the team side. There’s also winter seasons for girls volleyball teams from smaller OHSL schools, the Tri-Valley League, Frontier League and Center State Conference, with New Hartford (Class A), Lowville (Class B), Tully (Class C) and Sandy Creek (Class D) defending their sectional titles.