Top Ten Topics – May 13, 2017

Here are the top 10 topics for the May 13 edition of the McDonald’s Inside High School Sports show.

  1. So now we know when Mike Messere will end his legendary coaching career with West Genesee boys lacrosse. Having started as head coach in 1976, Messere announced last week that the 2018 season will be his last, so there this season plus one more, adding up to 43 seasons in all that includes more is than 800 wins, 33 Section III titles and 15 state championships, staggering numbers to go with the hundreds of players that went to the college ranks and dozens of them that ended up as coaches, too. Messere’s current Wildcats have won nine of 10 but lost last week 15-6 to an F-M side it beat earlier in the season. Again, West Genesee might need to get past the Hornets to claim Messere’s 34th sectional crown.
  2. J-D has made its case as the best boys lacrosse team in Section III by beating both West Genesee and F-M this spring. Yet the state Class C no. 2-ranked Red Rams knows its most important game of the regular season takes place Thursday against Homer, who starts this week at 11-0, the section’s lone remaining undefeated team, with New Hartford entering the state rankings for the first time this week. Then there’s Class D, where state no. 4-ranked CBA, by winning at Skaneateles last week, completed a season sweep of the Lakers, and of course is the only team to beat state no. 3-ranked Westhill so far. Meanwhile, the likes of General Brown and LaFayette are making late-season pushes to be possible playoff sleepers.
  3. Everything in Class A girls lacrosse may have changed with one result. Instead of CBA running roughshod to a state title like it did in 2016 without having to face West Genesee, the Brothers had to face the Wildcats this season – and lost last Saturday at home, West Genesee prevailing 6-5 on the heels of getting revenge for an April 12 defeat to F-M earlier that week. The combination of strong defense and timely goals has West Genesee back in the championship mix as it now looked for more payback Tuesday against another team that beat them earlier this season, C-NS. Together, CBA, West Genesee and C-NS sit at the no. 6 through 8 spots in the state rankings behind four Long Island sides and no. 4-ranked Pittsford.
  4. For the second week in a row, Marcellus sits atop the state Class D girls lacrosse rankings, but they have plenty of Section III company. There’s Skaneateles at the no. 4 spot, at full health and ready for big road games this week against CBA and Mount Sinai, the team that’s beat the Lakers three out of the last four years at the state final four, twice in the final. Then there’s four more teams in the top 10 – South Jefferson, Westhill and LaFayette, which shows the quality of competition. By contrast, only J-D, at no. 8, is state-ranked in Class C, and it lost to Marcellus and F-M the last two weeks. F-M’s win over J-D helped push it back to no. 6 in the state Class B rankings, with Watertown and Fulton also state-ranked.
  5. The blast of cold, wet weather that hit late last week ground high school baseball to a halt, and the timing wasn’t good because that will only lead to a huge backup of games in the last two weeks of the regular season. Featured this week is Liverpool, who has maintained an undefeated mark despite many close calls, against C-NS, who’s won the last two sectional Class AA titles, but has only gone 3-2 against West Genesee and F-M, giving the Warriors a clear lead in the CNY Counties League. The Class B picture is quite interesting with VVS a perfect 10-0 going into the week and Westhill just as hot before it got shut out at home by Skaneateles and pitching ace Cregg Scherrer, by far the Lakers’ biggest win of the season.
  6. Wild things going on in softball, starting with Liverpool making a second comeback from a six-run deficit to beat C-NS in as many weeks in a 7-6 win where all seven of the runs were scored in the sixth inning. Then there was Marcellus freshman Evelyn Webster amassing 11 RBIs and hitting for the cycle in a game against Hannibal, Solvay remaining undefeated and climbing to no. 2 in the state Class B rankings until a pair of losses at the Mudville Tournament in Herkimer to state-ranked Section I sides Pearl River and John Jay-East Fishkill. And in a showdown of Frontier League powers last week, Lowville knocked off Sandy Creek 2-1 to stay unbeaten. Rome Free Academy pitcher Olivia Deraway has thrown two no-hitters.
  7. Big news arrived for both baseball and softball teams on Monday when Section III changed the playoff structure for 2017. Normally, it would take winning 40 percent of your games, either overall or within your league or against teams in your own class, to quality for the sectional tournaments. But the sheer number of games that have been postponed, combined with the new pitch count rules in baseball plus a lack of umpires that could get every game from getting made up, forced the section’s executive committee to waive the 40 percent rule. Now the sectional baseball and softball are open tournaments, regardless of regular-season record, with Class A baseball experimenting with a double-elimination format.
  8. The busy track and field slate did not get affected by weather, though. Last weekend’s large-scale meets included C-NS winning the boys New Hartford Invitational after it won a head-to-head battle with Liverpool two days earlier. Also, Rome Free Academy’s girls won its own Copper City Classic even though it got moved to Camden. The Carthage boys and Skaneateles girls were victorious at CBA’s Brother Basilian Invitational. This week includes a great boys showdown between Baldwinsville and C-NS, league-title girls showdowns between Cazenovia and Skaneateles, plus ESM and Central Square, with B’ville also hosting a Friday coed invitational to go with the Oneida and Weedsport Invitational meets.
  9. They’re still managing to get in boys tennis and golf matches despite all of the bad weather. Neighboring schools F-M, J-D and CBA all have undefeated boys tennis sides and are cruising toward league titles as the sectional tournaments start next week. Meanwhile, on the golf courses, New Hartford’s boys did, indeed, reached 100 consecutive match victories with a sweep last Friday over Camden and Utica Proctor. Marcellus is unbeaten and leading the OHSL standings. Then, in girls golf, J-D’s run at the top of the OHSL got interrupted when ESM defeated them last week, leaving Skaneateles to go to the top of the standings as F-M continues to turn back all of its CNY Counties League challengers.
  10. There’s plenty going on at the state level. In meetings last week, the NYSPHSAA tabled, for now, the proposal that some had offered to created two separate sections for private-school teams, meaning that the likes of CBA, Bishop Ludden, Bishop Grimes and Utica-Notre Dame aren’t leaving Section III play anytime soon. However, there will be new classification enrollment standards for football and cross country that will take effect during the 2018 season. Also, two big events in fall sports aren’t going anywhere, for unlike boys basketball, girls volleyball state championships will stay at Glens Falls Civic Center through 2020, and boys soccer, which has found a state final four home at Middletown, will do the same.

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