Solvay Football

(from left) DeJour Reaves, Dewayne Young,Arthur Williams, Jaeson Gillard

Cortland Volleyball

Cazenovia Basketball

East Syracuse Minoa boys basketball

Here are the top 10 topics for the January 25 edition of the Inside High School Sports Show….

  1. This week, by continuing to dominate Frontier League foes, the Lowville boys basketball team has risen to the top of the state Class B rankings for the first time. But that doesn’t mean the Red Raiders have smooth sailing once the post-season hits. In the far deeper OHSL Liberty division, there’s Solvay piling up wins even without Justin Scott, and they should get him back for the playoffs, plus Cazenovia with a steady 11-3 mark led by Ryan Romagnoli and Alex Moesch, those Lakers meeting the other Lakers from Skaneateles late this week, an important game for both sides since Skaneateles, after starting 10-1, took back-to-back defeats last week to Solvay and Syracuse Academy of Science, and need a boost.
  2. The volatile Class AA boys basketball picture altered direction again last week, Baldwinsville going from big back-to-back wins over Corcoran and C-NS to falling Monday to Rome Free Academy on a last-second shot, while Corcoran also lost to Liverpool – who had lost six in a row before that! At least West Genesee has a six-game win streak after it won the Juggler Classic in Utica. The Wildcats play Liverpool Saturday as part of the weekend’s Pathfinder Bank Classic at OCC, which also features another “Holy War” between CBA and Bishop Ludden, who is 11-1 going into the weekend. Whitesboro is still undefeated at 11-0 and no. 9 in the state in Class A, while ESM tumbled back a bit after falling to Central Square last week.
  3. Three boys basketball teams in Section III remain undefeated. Aside from Whitesboro, there’s DeRuyter, who goes into the week 11-0 and no. 3 in the state Class D, with Lyme no. 4 in the state and Copenhagen, Hamilton and Old Forge also part of those state rankings. Then there’s Weedsport, who has navigated through its first 12 opponents without a defeat and has risen to no. 7 in the state rankings, two spots ahead of Cooperstown, who has won 10 in a row since its 0-2 start. DeRuyter had three games this week to attempt to get to 14-0, while in Weedsport’s case it has tough back-to-back games this weekend, first against 10-2, state no. 12-ranked Onondaga, and then right after against Class B Skaneateles on Saturday afternoon.
  4. With a 10-0 fourth-quarter run, the C-NS girls basketball team handed Baldwinsville its first defeat of the season, 50-46, last Friday night, and this on the heels of the Northstars toppling West Genesee earlier in the week. Whether that alters the Class AA picture depends on how C-NS does facing those same teams on the road late in the regular season. Another team that was undefeated, CBA, was toppled by Bishop Grimes 38-35 early last week, but the Brothers answered with three wins in four days, including a romp over Kaia Henderson-led New Hartford. Now the Brothers and Cobras would both have weekend games against Bishop Ludden, who would get tested by its neighbors from Westhill earlier in the week.
  5. South Jefferson’s girls basketball team fell for the first time this season 71-33 to a very good (state Class AA no. 5-ranked) Saratoga Springs, but the Spartans are still no. 3 in the state in Class B, joined in those rankings by Bishop Grimes, Oneida and (finally) Marcellus after the Mustangs knocked off Bishop Ludden to move to 13-1 overall. This leaves Brookfield as the only remaining unbeaten team in Section III girls hoops, the Beavers at 12-0 entering the week and no. 4 in the state Class D rankings, one spot ahead of Copenhagen at no. 5 as once-beaten Hamilton is no. 10. Weedsport is the best state-ranked Class C side at no. 9, having given head coach Chris Vargason his 200th win last week when the Warriors beat LaFayette.
  6. It’s a big week in high school wrestling, with the Section III Dual Meets. This time it’s a two-day format, with Tuesday opening rounds followed by championship bouts on Thursday at C-NS to determine the spots in the Feb. 1 state dual meet at SRC Arena. As expected, Fulton is the top seed in Division I and Central Valley Academy the top seed in Division II, with the Red Raiders’ main challenge expected to come from Indian River, who has an 11-0 mark this winter and has won several large-scale tournaments. There’s eight teams in Division I and 10 of them in Division II, where CVA will face a field that has Mount Markham the no. 2 seed, with General Brown and Mexico holding the other top-four seeds.
  7. In ice hockey, so much of the Division I picture will get put together on Wednesday night at Shove Park. That’s where Syracuse and West Genesee face each other for the first time since the four-overtime epic that the Cougars won over the Wildcats last February at the War Memorial on the way to the state championship. Though both got off to slow starts this year, Syracuse and West Genesee are still comfortably atop the league standings. But Skaneateles remains the dominant team in Central New York, firmly entrenched at no. 1 in the state rankings and having shut out its two closest challengers, Clinton and Whitesboro, the last two weeks and then blanking Oswego for three shutouts in a row.
  8. The biggest news in track last weekend did not take place indoors. It was outdoors, and across the country in San Diego, where the Tully girls cross country team took part in the USA Track and Field cross country junior women’s championships. And it was there at Brooke Rauber, a four-time state Class D champion and top-10 finisher at last month’s Nike Cross Nationals, won by a margin of more than 30 seconds on a 6,000-meter course. The victory not only added to Rauber’s long resume, it gives her an opportunity to, on leap year day February 29, compete for the United States against an international field in the Pan Am Cross Country Championships that take place in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  9. As for indoor track and field teams, they are mostly done with their regular season after last weekend’s set of meets. At SRC Arena, the F-M girls and Liverpool boys won the morning session of the Bob Grieve Memorial Invitational, while C-NS swept the afternoon session against a smaller field. A day earlier, at Utica College, Mohawk Valley ITA teams mixed in with some outside teams and both sides earned a team title, with Baldwinsville prevailing in the boys race and Clinton doing so in the girls race. Now, except for an invitational at Utica, everyone just rests this week and action picks up next week with various league championships from January 29 to 31 in all of the participating leagues.
  10. Liverpool’s boys swim team completed a stretch of eight events in 14 days by knocking off Baldwinsville and then earning the most points at the SCAC championships, with Griffin Merkling victorious in two events and all three Warriors relay teams already qualified for the state meet. J-D/CBA’s Lucas Dekaney won the diving title as, in the four-team OHSL meet, New Hartford held off Mexico for the top spot. Also, returning to fall sports, it was announced that F-M boys soccer player Francesco “Cheech” Pagano was named an All-American and was chosen as the 2019 New York State Player of the Year, receiving his honors last weekend while attending the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Baltimore, Maryland. More than anything else, this was a time for milestone in boys basketball for a pair of coaching legends. When CBA defeated Solvay 67-47 last Saturday, Buddy Wleklinski reached 500 career wins, all at his alma mater, where he’s also been the athletic director for more than 30 years, and he’s doing a fine coaching job here, the Brothers having won four of five games since a 1-4 start. Now, on Tuesday night when CBA hosted Bishop Grimes, Bob McKenney had a chance to get to 600 wins, the first Section III boys coach to get to that milestone whenever it happens. Those two, along with Hamilton’s Tom Blackford (whose Emerald Knights are having a fine season), are all members of the BCANY Hall of Fame.


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