Top Ten February 2, 2019

Here are the top 10 topics for the February 2 edition of the Inside High School Sports show.

  1. Right now, the most active and exciting race among contenders in boys basketball might exist in Class A. Top contenders Whitesboro, J-D, Central Square and ESM have all faced each other, and the results have varied and most of those games were close, too. Central Square was 10-1, and beat ESM in December, but the Spartans rebounded by beating the Redhawks in double OT last Friday after both of those teams lost to Cortland. Plus, J-D plays both ESM and Central Square the next two weeks. Add to all that Whitesboro‘s consistently strong play and the threat from Bishop Grimes, too, the Cobras having won six in a row before a Sunday-night defeat to Bishop Ludden in the wake of a 12-day layoff.
  2. It’s far more sedate in Class AA boys basketball, where Corcoran withstood yet another challenge from Nottingham to go 15-0 and West Genesee is close behind, having seen Lucas Sutherland get to 1,000 career points in an easy win over F-M. Now both look to hold serve this week before their February 5 rematch in Camillus, but no one else in the SCAC Metro division has shown any kind of consistency. It’s two outsiders, Rome Free Academy and Bishop Ludden, best situated to offer challenges, with the Gaelic Knights’ win at Bishop Grimes its fourth in a row leading up to an interesting game Tuesday where the Gaelic Knights try to ruin the perfect season of 15-0 Skaneateles.
  3. Unlike in December, January has taken quite a toll on the winter sports schedule, and boys basketball is no exception. Bishop Grimes lost its Martin Luther King weekend tournament and could not fully reschedule it. More specifically, there was the showdown in Class C between undefeated, state no. 2-ranked Cooperstown and once-beaten Utica Academy of Science, whose lone defeat was to the Hawkeyes in December. They were supposed to meet last Thursday, but it got snowed out, and now they’ll make it up next Monday night, at the start of the last full week of the regular season, where the battle for the top playoff seeds between those two plus once-beaten Weedsport might finally get sorted out.
  4. In girls basketball, what promises to be a terrific battle for Class B supremacy took another turn last Saturday when Westhill, helped by a 22-2 third-quarter push, defeated Oneida 61-47, just the second loss the Indians had taken all season after it climbed into the state top 10, just ahead of the Warriors, who now have wins over both Oneida and South Jefferson to strengthen its own case. Then there’s Class A, where J-D took a 43-40 defeat last Saturday to Pittsford Mendon, the team it beat in the 2017 state Class A final, and must feel that Bishop Ludden could dethrone them since the Gaelic Knights have won 10 in a row since December, including Sunday’s win over Bishop Grimes, though those two meet again next week.
  5. With Class AA favorites C-NS and West Genesee coming off crucial wins over much-improved Liverpool, they’ll likely mark time for the rest of the regular season, but there’s far more intrigue in the small-school classes. There’s Weedsport trying to finish off an undefeated regular season, starting the week 16-0 and still no. 3 in the state rankings but with tough games this week against league rivals Pulaski and LaFayette, with Onondaga to follow, but don’t forget about Little Falls and Cooperstown from the Center State Conference, both of whom are playing quite well. And you have, in Class D, Copenhagen, Brookfield and Madison all ranked in the state top 12, but how will they end up playoff-seeded?
  6. It was quite a NYSPHSAA wrestling Dual Meet second edition last Saturday at SRC Arena. In Division II, Central Valley advanced to the championship round against Mount Sinai, and led 31-12 at one point, only to have Mount Sinai rally to win it 37-34 on a pin in the final bout and winning five of the last six overall. Before that, CVA had defeated Canisteo-Greenwood, Peru and Falconer in the early rounds. Fulton, competing again in Division I, beat Olean and Spencerport in the early rounds and reached the semifinals, but took a 42-28 defeat to Massapequa in that round. Massapequa went on to beat Hilton 41-29 in the finals, meaning that Long Island teams swept both divisions.
  7. Much more happened in last wrestling, too. There was Canastota winning the Center State League tournament at Dolgeville with 183 points to Adirondack’s 159.5, while in the OHSL Liberty/Patriot meet Marcellus needed 177 points to hold off host Hannibal (168.5 points) and claim the top spot. These serve as a prelude to the quartet of Section III class tournaments this Saturday. Class AA teams gather at West Genesee, Class A teams go to Whitesboro, Class B teams will compete at Camden, Class C titles are decided at General Brown and Class D teams are at Cooperstown. Top finishers in all these events advance to the Feb. 3 sectional state qualifiers a week later, again at SRC Arena.
  8. Indoor track and field starts to go into its post-season this week, with SRC Arena hosting the OHSL championships on Wednesday and the SCAC championships on Thursday night. Before this, there was the Utica Challenge Invitational last weekend at Utica College’s Hutton Dome, where teams from across Upstate New York gathered. Liverpool‘s girls team not only won the team title, but had Jenna Schulz break Olympian Jen Rhimes’ school record in the 3,000-meter run while also winning at 1,000 meters. The Liverpool boys finished second as C-NS senior Jeremiah Willis swept the 55 and 300-meter sprints just before making his college announcement on Wednedsay, delayed a week by weather concerns.
  9. The homestretch in high school ice hockey includes plenty of games between the top Division II sides. State no. 1-ranked Skaneateles survived a tough battle with Oswego 2-1 a week ago, but those two sides will meet again next week as they battle for position with Cortland-Homer, the Buccaneers and Golden Eagles having their own head-to-head clash this week. Then there’s Division I, where Syracuse still sails along at 14-0-1 going into the week, while West Genesee awaits Tuesday night’s game with Baldwinsville, at last the chance, nearly 12 months later, to avenge the stunning four-overtime, shoot-out defeat to the Bees in the sectional semifinals a year ago when the Wildcats were undefeated and atop the state rankings.
  10. This week starts the post-season for high school bowling as girls bowlers head to Liverpool‘s Flamingo Lanes for its sectional tournament early on Super Bowl Sunday. In boys swimming, the regular season is winding down, but Liverpool got to 11-0 with a win over J-D/CBA last Friday that included the Warriors breaking a pool record in the 200 medley relay and the Red Rams’ Chris Bushnell setting another pool mark in the 100 backstroke. And it’s the last week of the regular season in high school winter volleyball as the likes of Chittenango, Mount Markham and New Hartford attempt to finish off undefeated runs before the sectional playoffs, the Bears still having not lost a set to anyone this winter.

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