Top Ten: February 9, 2019

1. As the last full week of the boys basketball regular season started, Corcoran was still undefeated, at 16-0, but would put that mark on the line Tuesday night at West Genesee, who pushed the Cougars to overtime early in January. Since then, the Wildcats have also lost to Henninger, Nottingham, and Baldwinsville the night before it faced Corcoran. Meanwhile, in Class A it’s a battle royal for the top playoff seeds, with Whitesboro and J-D both 15-2 going into this week and the Red Rams knowing it has to host a Central Square side that’s 13-2 starting the week and beat J-D earlier this season. And where to put Bishop Grimes, who’s won 10 of 11 but whose only loss in this stretch came to Bishop Ludden, who it faces again this week.
2. The battle for the boys basketball Class C top seed took a big turn late last week when state no. 2-ranked (but short-handed) Cooperstown took its first loss of the season to Holland Patent. And that came right before Monday night’s game that pitted the Hawkeyes against 15-1 Utica Academy of Science, and the Atoms won it, 70-56, avenging its only loss of the season and perhaps rising to the top seed while handing Cooperstown its second straight loss in the wake of a 16-0 start. Now UAS can still push for the top seed alongside Weedsport, who also was 16-1 to start the week. There’s also LaFayette, defending champion Tully, West Canada and Oriskany all lined up amid the deepest pool of area title contenders. 
3. The quest for an undefeated regular season for the Skaneateles boys basketball team got thwarted last Tuesday at Bishop Ludden, but even here the Lakers were close until the final seconds against the Gaelic Knights, who outside of West Genesee and Corcoran might be the strongest Class AA side. Lowville, 15-1 going into the week, could yet snag the top seed from the Lakers. It’s quite a crowd at the top of Class D, too, since no less than five teams – LaFargeville, Lyme, Hamilton, McGraw and DeRuyter – have similar records heading down the homestretch, and because they are so close in overall records, whoever emerges with the top seed here might have a major advantage overall. 
4. Maybe we need to reconfigure Class A girls basketball. J-D, who lost to a New Hampshire team last week and went to overtime before beating South Jefferson Monday night, might see its long reign will get a serious challenge not just from Bishop Ludden, who has won 11 in a row, but also New Hartford, with freshman Kaia Henderson capable of taking over any game. A surprise came in Class AA last week when C-NS surrenderedd a double-digit fourth-quarter lead and lost to Baldwinsville on a last-second shot by Sydney Huhtala, but the Northstars won its next two games and the Bees were smashed by West Genesee later in the week, perhaps clearing the Wildcats toward another sectional playoff top seed. 
5. A pair of recent losses, including one to Whitesboro, might deny Oneida the Class B top seed in girls basketball, given how well the likes of Westhill and South Jefferson were playing in the last month, and there’s also Syracuse Academy of Science at 12-4 going into the week. After an impressive 68-45 win over LaFayette last week, Weedsport moved to 17-0, maintaining its no. 2 state rankinga as it saw Cassi Carroll pass 1,000 career points and inched closer to an undefeated regular season. Copenhagen is tracking toward the Class D top seed with its 15-1 record, while two other contenders met last Saturday and Madison got the best of it, edging Brookfield 43-40, though those two could meet again. 
6. The wrestling sectional tournaments began last weekend with home teams winning three times. West Genesee did so in Class AA to dethrone J-D/CBA, while in Class B Central Valley Academy easily prevailed to follow up its second-place finish in the NYSPHSAA Dual Meet a week earlier. And General Brown won the Class C sectional tournament at home. As expected, Fulton breezed to the Class A title at Whitesboro, while Beaver River brought the Class D championship home from Cooperstown. It all leads to sectional Division I (large school) and Division II (small school) championships at SRC Arena this weekend, with only the winners guaranteed spots in the Feb. 22-23 state championships in Albany. 
7. Plenty happened in ice hockey, nothing more impressive than what state Division II no. 2-ranked Cortland-Homer did last Saturday, handing state Division I no. 3-ranked Syracuse its first defeat of the season by a 7-3 margin, this after beating Oswego and Auburn earlier in the week and before a big regular-season finale where the Golden Eagles challenge state no. 1-ranked Skaneateles, the two sides having tied 4-4 back in December. The Lakers come off another 4-4 tie against Whitesboro late last week. In Division I, West Genesee handled Baldwinsville 5-1 last week to avenge its playoff defeat of a year ago, while F-M got a 2-1 road win at Rome Free Academy. 
8. They held the Section III girls hockey championships last week, and again Skaneateles won it. In the semifinals, the Lakers blanked Oswego 8-0, but the real surprise came a night later when Ithaca lost at home 4-2 to Clinton. Clearly the Lakers worried about facing Ithaca in the finals since the Little Red beat them 1-0 in mid-January. Instead, in Sunday’s title game a trio of second-period power play goals helped Skaneateles beat Clinton 6-3 to reach the state “Frozen Four” for the third year in a row. A two-time state champion (including 2017), the Lakers go to Buffalo’s HarborCenter to face Plattsburgh in Friday night’s state semifinal, with the championship game taking place Saturday night. 
9. In the girls bowling sectional tournament that took place Sunday at Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool, it was Rome Free Academy pulling away from C-NS to take the Division I (large school) and Class A championships, while in Division II (small schools) Camden edged VVS for the team title, with the Blue Devils joining RFA as they will both compete in the state team tournament at Strike-N-Spare Lanes early next month. Despite the team defeat, VVS’s Mackenzie O’Herien led all individuals with the best series of 1,320 and the top game of 253, too. This all gets repeated next Sunday at Utica’s Pin-O-Rama, where the boys bowling sectional team tournament will determine similar honors. 
10. In various league championship indoor track and field meets, there was the OHSL championships where, in Division 1, the Cazenovia boys and Westhill girls prevailed, while in Division 2 it was the Hannibal boys and Tully girls finishing on top. Clinton swept both Center State Conference meets while, in the Tri-Valley League, Rome Free Academy won both Colonial divisions, with the VVS girls and Camden boys winning in the Pioneer divisions. That leads to the Section III championships this week, with Class AA and A teams going back to SRC Arena, but Class B, C and D teams making their way to Utica College’s Hutton Dome, where the state qualifier takes place the following week. 

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