Here are our top 10 topics for the February 29 edition of the Inside
High School Sports Show…
1. We now hit the pivotal rounds of the Section III boys basketball playoffs. Holding the top seed in Class AA, defending state champion West Genesee eyed a possible semifinal against J.J. Starling and Baldwinsville, the last team to beat the Wildcats in early January, while no. 2 seed Corcoran avoided a troublesome game with Liverpool (who beat them twice this season) when Utica Proctor knocked off the Warriors. In Class A, 20-0 Whitesboro would get challenged by Bishop Grimes, part of a quarterfinal set that included defending champoin J-D against Fulton, no. 3 seed ESM against its fellow Spartans from New Hartford and CBA, the no. 4 seed, hosting Central Square, leading to semifinals Friday night at SRC Arena.
2. Nothing that happened in the early rounds of the boys basketball sectional Class B playoffs discouraged the notion that state no. 1-ranked Lowville will be tough to dethrone. The Red Raiders bashed Camden and awaited Cazenovia, while no. 2 seed Solvay nearly got upended by Oneida and would get a quarterfinal against a Skaneateles team that had Nate Fouts score 36 points against Jordan-Elbridge. Also, the no. 4 seed, VVS, was knocked off in its opening game by no. 13 seed Mount Markham, perhaps opening the door for no. 5 seed Marcellus as the two sets of Mustangs would meet in the quarterfinals and last season’s runner-up, General Brown, would take a no. 3 seed and host Central Valley Academy.
3. Weedsport, the top seed in the Class C boys basketball sectional bracket, would avoid a team that beat them, Cato-Meridian, when Utica Academy of Science beat the Blue Devils. Defending state champ Cooperstown would look to avenge a January defeat to Herkimer, Onondaga squared off with Frankfort-Schuyler and West Canada met up with Beaver River. Then there was Class D, with DeRuyter now at 21-0 but up against a past state champion, Oriskany, in the quarterfinals as defending champion and no. 2 seed Lyme would face McGraw. Brookfield’s upset of no. 4 seed Hamilton set up the Beavers against Copenhagen and no. 3 seed Old Forge would get a big challenge from Faith Heritage.
4. A 23-team field in Section III Class B girls basketball whittled down to eight with the top two seeds, Oneida and South Jefferson, rolling through, but the Spartans would now in the quarterfinals get yet another post-season showdown with Westhill, whom it beat in the 2019 final and in a very close game late in December. The Indians, meanwhile, drew Lowville in that same round as no. 3 seed Marcellus had to rally late to avoid an upset from Central Valley Academy, but had a tough quarterfinal against state-ranked Syracuse Academy of Science. Meanwhile, Bishop Grimes, the no. 13 seed, knocked off Clinton and upended no. 4 seed Adirondack to earn a berth in the other quarterfinal against VVS, who barely held off Chittenango.
5. With only seven teams in the field for the girls basketball sectional Class AA playoffs, Baldwinsville, the top seed, had a bye straight into the semifinals, but by the time it would face Nottingham or Rome Free Academy, the Bees would be off for more than two weeks. C-NS, the no. 2 seed, expected to get West Genesee or F-M in the other semifinal on Sunday. Up in Class A, J-D was, for once, not the top seed, instead as a no. 2 seed having to deal with a dangerous Bishop Ludden side as CBA, from the top seed, would welcome Indian River in TUesday’s quarterfinals. The other games in this round would have no. 3 seed Central Square against New Hartford and no. 4 seed Cortland hosting Whitesboro, each of those games toss-ups.
6. Only top seed Weedsport and no. 2 seed Onondaga had first-round byes in the Class C girls basketball sectional playoffs. No. 3 seed Cooperstown would get challenged by Little Falls in the quarterfinals as Weedsport met LaFayette, Onondaga would get league rival Port Byron and no. 4 seed West Canada hosted Thousand Islands. Defending its perfect 20-0 record, Class D top seed Brookfield entered the fray Tuesday in a quarterfinal game against Sandy Creek, while no. 2 seed Hamilton and no. 3 seed Copenhagen, expected to clash in the semifinals, first had to get through Watertown IHC and Madison as Lyme and Poland met in the other quarterfinals, all of them looking to get to OCC for the championship rounds.
7. This weekend at Albany’s Times Union Center, the state Division I (large school) and Division II (small school) championships take place. As usual, It’s in Division II where Section III could clean up, with stars ranging from Central Valley Academy’s Bush brothers, Mason and Marek (both of them no. 2 seeds) to undefeated top seed Jacob Null, from Dolgeville, at 160 pounds and Camden’s Trey Kimball, a top seed a 99 pounds, and South Jefferson/Sandy Creek’s Tyler Mousaw, the top seed at 195 pounds. In Division I, the best seeds belong to Fulton’s Camrin Galvin, a no. 3 seed at 160 pounds, and Central Square’s Cole Mulhauser, with the same seed at 145 pounds. The championship bouts take place Saturday night.
8. What the early rounds did in the Section III Division I ice hockey playoffs is create the exact same semifinals as we saw in 2019. Again, Syracuse is the top seed welcoming Baldwinsville to Meachem Rink after the Cougars handled C-NS 5-1 and the Bees edged Fulton 2-1 in the quarterfinals. Once more, West Genesee is defending home ice at Shove Park against F-M, the Hornets having survived its own 2-1 battle with Rome Free Academy and the Wildcats having blanked CBA/J-D 5-0 in the quarterfinals. Whether we get another West Genesee/Syracuse final at the War Memorial next Monday night, or whether B’ville and F-M can upend them, will get determined on Wednesday night in what promises to be raucous settings.
9. Now we also hit the heart of the Section III Division II ice hockey playoffs. Unbeaten, defending state champion Skaneateles had to survive overtime to beat Whitesboro 3-2 last Wednesday to keep that top seed and the regular-season league title. Now the Lakers would meet Cortland-Homer in Wednesday’s semifinal at Allyn Arena, the same Golden Eagles team it beat in the 2019 sectional final and twice more in the regular season. A night earlier, Whitesboro, as the no. 2 seed, would host no. 3 seed Clinton, who took out New Hartford. No matter who gets to the War Memorial for the sectional final, both of those teams will be in the state tournament since Section III has an at-large berth waiting for them.
10. On Tuesday night at SRC Arena, many of the top Section III boys and girls indoor track and field athletes will compete in the sectional state qualifier, the last chance to get berths in the March 7 state meet on Staten Island if their times, heights and distance haven’t already met the state qualifying standards. Later this week, the girls gymnasts that competed during the fall return for their state championships, traveling to Long Island’s Cold Spring Harbor High School for the meet. Section III will have 13 gymnasts in the field, led by New Hartford’s Miranda Smith, who put up a remarkable all-around score of 38.825 out of 40 during the sectional meet and should contend for top honors.