Top Ten March 16, 2019

Here are the top 10 topics for the March 16 edition of the Inside High School Sports show.
1. A memorable Sunday of ice hockey at Buffalo’s HarborCenter culminated with the Syracuse Cougars as state Division I champions. The Cougars rode Philip Zollo’s hat trick to a 5-1 victory over Orchard Park in the semifinals and then, in the title game against Suffern, took the lead for good late in the second period and sealed it with two late goals by State Division I Player of the Year Ryan Eccles – one on an end-to-end unassisted run, the other in an empty net in the final minute. Syracuse beat Suffern 4-2, and as it turned out, the four-overtime victory over West Genesee in the sectional final at the War Memorial propelled the Cougars to the first state title in program history.
2. And that came after Skaneateles completed a dominant run to the state Division II ice hockey championship. Ranked no. 1 in the state all season, the Lakers dominated the state “Frozen Four” in Buffalo, too, riding Luke Lynn’s natural hat trick (three goals in less than three minutes of game time) to a 5-2 semifinals victory over Webster Thomas and then, in the state final against Queensbury, scoring twice in less than a minute to gain control in the second period and going on to rout the Spartans 6-1. Bauer Morrissey, with his all-around gifts on offense and defense, was named state tournament MVP, and the Lakers claimed the fourth state title in program history, its first since 2015. 
3. After earning its first Section III title in 25 years, West Genesee staged a dramatic comeback in the Class AA boys basketball regional final against Saratoga Springs at SRC Arena. The Wildcats were down double digits in the fourth quarter and four with less than 10 seconds left, but somehow caught up, tying it on Will Amica’s driving layup at the buzzer, and then scored 22 points in overtime to beat Saratoga 70-55. Now West Genesee goes to the state final four in Binghamton, where the Wildcats get to face traditional power Niagara Falls in the state semifinals Friday night, the winner advancing to a championship game Saturday against Kingston (who took out Mount Vernon) or Brentwood.
4. Lowville’s end to a 55-year-old Section III boys basketball championship drought was followed by more success in the Class B regional final against Owego at SRC Arena. The Red Raiders went out in front early and then got away in the second half, prevailing 68-51 as brothers Gavin and Aidan Macaulay combined for 31 points to lead them. In Friday morning’s state semifinal in Binghamton, Lowville takes on Center Moriches, from Long Island. Win this, and a daunting task awaits in the state final on Saturday – either undefeated, state no. 1-ranked Olean, or Glens Falls, led by SU recruit Joe Girard, whose state-record total of more than 4,500 career points makes him the star attraction of the state final four.
5. Cooperstown, having edged Utica Academy of Science to reclaim the sectional Class C boys basketball title, then added a regional championship Sunday in Binghamton. Against Unadilla Valley, the Hawkeyes got a hot start from Jack Lambert, held Unadilla to just 12 points in the first half, and went on to win 61-46, Lambert finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Now, in that same Binghamton Floyd L. Maines Arena, Cooperstown goes after the state championship this weekend, facing Greenpoint, from Long Island, in Saturday’s semifinal round. The winner goes to Sunday’s final against Middle Early College or Lake George, the defending champs who have won 54 games in a row. 
6. J-D’s girls basketball team has a chance to win a fourth consecutive state Class A championship. The Red Rams survived blowing a 13-point fourth-quarter lead to Averill Park and outlasted the Warriors 65-60 in overtime before handling Franklin Academy 77-47 in the regional final. It figures to be tough at Troy’s Hudson Valley Community College, where J-D is quite familiar with Saturday’s state semifinal opponent, Pittsford-Mendon. The Red Rams lost a close one to Mendon late in January, but beat them in a tense 2017 state final. Whoever wins this latest edition will advance to Sunday’s championship game, where either Binghamton Seton Catholic or Sewanhaka, from Long Island, awaits in the finals.
7. West Genesee is in the girls basketball state Class AA final four for the second year in a row. To get there, the Wildcats had to avenge a 62-29 defeat to Shenendehowa in last Saturday’s regional final at SRC Arena, taking the lead in the second half and hanging on to beat the Plainsmen 57-50 as Mackenzie Smith had 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Tough as this was, getting past the state semifinals could prove even tougher since the Wildcats face a very powerful Bishop Kearney side from Rochester that’s 22-1. Ossining could await in the state finals if it beats Longwood, and Ossining beat West Genesee a year ago in the semifinals and feature a UConn recruit in Aubrey Griffin.
8. Can South Jefferson girls basketball add a third state championship to the two it earned in 2004 and 2006? The Spartans earned a trip to the state final four in last Saturday night’s regional final at SRC Arena when it turned back Norwich, from Section IV, 66-59, not taking the lead for good until the fourth quarter as Alyssa Stevenson got 23 points and Jackie Piddock got 17 points. At Hudson Valley CC, South Jefferson’s task in the state semifinals involves beating Irvington, from Section I, who won four consecutive state titles from 2010 to 2013. Win that game on Friday, and the Spartans go to Saturday night’s championship game, where Canton (Section X) or Midlakes (Section V) will await.
9. Two Section III boys basketball champions saw their seasons end in the regional round. In Class A, J-D led early against Troy at SRC Arena, but then the Flying Horses had a 25-4 run bridging the first and second quarters and never looked back, defeating the Red Rams 78-58 to advance to a state semifinal against Pittsford-Mendon. Meanwhile, in Class D last Friday night, Lyme followed up its sectional finals victory over McGraw by taking on Harrisville, from Section X. Lyme led 34-27 at halftime, but Harrisville outscored them 21-8 in the third quarter and never got caught, eventually beating the Indians 64-56 and securing a state semifinals berth in Binghamton, where it will take on Marathon.
10. Cooperstown’s girls basketball team could not quite match what the boys did in the Class C regional final against Watkins Glen, the Hawkeyes’ late comeback proving a bit late as Watkins Glen claimed a 60-49 victory. Kate Trosset and Piper Seamon had 12 points apiece for Cooperstown as Watkins Glen will face Millbrook in the state semifinals at Hudson Valley CC in Troy. Copenhagen, the Class D sectional champions, never got going in its regional final against Edwards-Knox, the Section X champions smothering the Gold Knights in a 64-18 decision. The state final four will feature Edwards-Knox against South Kortright, with the other semifinal pitting Franklinville against Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons.

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