Top Ten 12/21/19

Here are our top 10 topics for the December 21 edition of the Inside High School Sports show…

  1. One week, by itself, shouldn’t massively alter any championship picture in boys basketball. Yet Liverpool proceeded right to the front of the Class AA parade last week, first by handing reigning state champion West Genesee its first defeat of the season 67-53, then doing the same to Corcoran 66-64 ina  game won by Romeo Clarke’s twisting corner jumper at the buzzer. The Warriors mostly rest this week, while West Genesee and Corcoran draw each other on Friday, a rematch of their two epic battles from last season that were split. Meanwhile, Baldwinsville’s J.J. Starling should pass 1,000 career points after going for 35 and 36 in consecutive wins last week over C-NS and Albany Green Tech – and he’s still just a sophomore.
  2. A deep field of Class A boys basketball contenders is developing beyond usual suspects like J-D and Bishop Grimes. Two of them off to fine starts, 3-0 ESM and 3-1 Auburn, meet later this week on the Maroons’ home floor to see who has some key early momentum, Auburn having knocked off Central Square late last week. Moving to Class B, Lowville was humbled a bit by powerful Albany Academy last weekend, while General Brown stumbled against Westhill. Cazenovia has roared out 6-0 but would have to face Bishop Grimes and Westhill back-to-back this week and the other Lakers from Skaneateles sat at 4-0 following a tough win over main rival Marcellus last weekend.
  3. And once this week’s games conclude, we head into holiday tournament season. On the boys basketball side, there’s the traditional tournaments Bishop Ludden and CBA host, of course, but also ESM reviving a holiday tournament it hosted earlier in the decade and Whitesboro in it on the heels of impressively handling Rome Free Academy last week. And above them all is the massive More Than A Game event, starting on high school campuses but continuing at OCC for championship and consolation games featuring teams from all over the area. One catch this year is that the calendar having Christmas and New Year’s Day on Wednesday means that league games will resume before many of them return to school in 2020.
  4. Looking at girls basketball, the three-year hold West Genesee owned on Class AA is under attack. Baldwinsville went to Camillus and beat the Wildcats early last week, and then West Genesee barely beat Nottingham, which has to be quite tempting for other challengers like C-NS and Nottingham. Meanwhile, a deeper pool of Class A teams are lining up to try and knock J-D off. CBA, who battled the Red Rams in the sectional semifinal a year ago, has started 4-0, and Bishop Ludden hasn’t lost yet, either, both seeminly equipped for title runs. Onondaga has roared out in Class C, joining the likes of Cooperstown and Weedsport as the strongest sides there moving toward the end of December.
  5. Every week in Class B girls basketball there are plenty of important games. While South Jefferson tests itself with a tough schedule and Oneida rises to the top of the Tri-Valley League, Westhill took a pair of early defeats but then upended an unbeaten Marcellus side. Cazenovia and Chittenango are both unblemished going into this week and the two neighbors face each ohter on Friday. Two big-name teams are heading out of town late this week, Baldwinsville going to Orlando, Florida for three games and C-NS to a high-profile national tournament with four games in Arizona. But most will stay in Central New York for many events including the “More Than A Game” events that culminate at OCC.
  6. Moving to ice hockey, good starts by Rome Free Academy and Watertown IHC has given Division I a bit more of an unpredictable race, though more traditional powers Syracuse and Baldwinsville meet at Meachem Rink on Wednesday after the Bees won the first meeting with the reigning state champion Cougars 3-2 earlier this month. On the other hand, Skaneateles, sitting at 5-0, remains far above the other Division II challengers, though you have to be impressed with Whitesboro going on the road to knock off Baldwinsville last weekend. Among the many games this week is the Lakers against Auburn, though the Route 20 rivalry might not have as much juice given the Maroons’ 1-3 start.
  7. A busy weekend of tournament wrestling saw Fulton win the Linda Stewart Duals at Colonie by going 7-0, C-NS do the same at the Matt Fedish Tournament at Chenango Valley by going 9-0 and Central Valley Academy sweep its own Valley Duals at 7-0. Then there was Liverpool beating host Central Square at the Brett Dixon Memorial Duals, General Brown going 5-0 at its own dual meet and South Jefferson-Sandy Creek earning the team title during the Phoenix Round Robin. Marcellus was third at the Dave Buck Duals in Elmira. This weekend includes the North Country Invitational at Indian River with many teams going to SUNY-Oswego for the Kenneth Haines Memorial along with the Mountain Duals in Johnstown.
  8. It’s quite a busy time in indoor track and field. Last week had the Mohawk Valley Relays swept by C-NS at Utica College, along with the Oscar B. Jensen Holiday Relays at SRC Arena with strong performances by F-M and Cazenovia in the morning session, along with Liverpool, ESM and J-D in the afternoon session. There is more this week, starting Tuesday when Mohawk Valley ITA teams going back to Utica for the John DiMao Invitational, and a third set of CNYITA meets at SRC Arena on Saturday, in this case it’s the George Constantino Memorial Invitational. Unlike many other winter sports, the indoor track teams essentially rest during the Christmas/New Year’s period, but are back at it during the first days of January.
  9. It’s also a season where some things are changing in girls volleyball. Chittenango and Tully, so dominant in recent years, both took defeats early last week, with the Bears surrendering a two-set lead to Cortland to fall in five and the Black Knights swept by Onondaga and then falling to Chittenango. Proving its worth, Cortland then swept CBA and survived a five-set battle with Onondaga. In other leagues, though, some things haven’t changed, with Whitesboro still the class of the Tri-Valley League, Mount Markham at 5-0 atop the Center State Conference and Carthage and Beaver River both rushing to the top of their respective Frontier League divisions before they all hit the holiday break.
  10. In boys swimming, Liverpool and Baldwinsville could be battling for the SCAC Metro division regular-season title when those rivals go at it Tuesday night at the Bees’ home pool, the Warriors having every single meet on the road this season but still boasting a far deeper lineup than the Bees, who have shown a bit more depth to support starts like Bailey Ludden and Nick Schultz. Moving to boys bowling, Fulton and Liverpool have emerged as the best sides in the SCAC, with Solvay starting strong in the OHSL. Girls bowling also has Fulton moving to the front in the SCAC, though Auburn is a serious challenger and Cortland is off to a great start, too. Rome Free Academy and Camden expect to set the pace in the Tri-Valley League.

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