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Saturday, March 14, 2015: Section 9 hits Burke basketball with tourney ban

   Leading off today: John S. Burke Catholic High is banned from the 2016 boys basketball postseason under sanctions and a censure announced Friday by Section 9.

   The Section 9 Athletic Council ruled "allegations of undue influence and recruiting to be credible," according to an email sent by Robert Thabet, executive director of the section.

   Burke Catholic was placed on three years of probation starting July 1, The Times Herald-Record reported. The school will be required to make annual reports to Section 9 outlining "the admission of student-athletes competing in boys basketball, scholarships given to these same student-athletes and any other pertinent information concerning these matters as required by the council."

   The private school in Goshen must also meet guidelines including "monitor and control the provision of tuition assistance to prevent its potential use to induce student-athletes to transfer to Burke Catholic. Burke Catholic is also directed to develop institutional monitoring and controls over the provision of scholarships or other assistance to potential students by outside individuals and entities to prevent the potential use of such outside assistance to induce student-athletes to transfer to Burke Catholic."

   The ruling stems from an investigation into alleged Burke recruiting infractions. Section 9 investigated following a complaint by five Section 9 school districts that undertook their own investigation.

   "When all is said and done, everyone makes mistakes," said Middletown Superintendent Dr. Ken Eastwood, who initiated the investigation. "Moving on, I hope Burke learns from these mistakes and is a good member (of Section 9). I don't hold any ill will toward Burke Catholic, but what they were doing was serious and it was getting even more serious. We had to take a look at it and file a complaint."

   Opening-round surprise: A defense that forced 22 turnovers sparked Peru to a surprising 51-46 win over Malone in the first round of the NYSPHSAA girls basketball tournament Friday.

   Peru, the Section 7 representative that entered the game with a 7-12 record, forced 15 first-half turnovers en route to a 27-18 lead. Meghan Mazzella led Peru with 14 points.

   Malone finishes with a 14-7 record.

   The win advanced Peru to the Class A quarterfinals Saturday vs. Jamesville-DeWitt, which eliminated Averill Park 55-46. Jamesville-DeWitt held the Warriors to one field goal over the final 5:04.

   More girls basketball: Ossining remained on track for a third straight state Class AA championship with a 74-51 win vs. Horseheads.

   Junior Shadeen Samuels, last season's state tournament MVP, led all scorers with 26 points. Senior point guard Stefanie Svoboda, limited to one first-half point, connected on four 3-pointers as part of a 14-point second-half performance.

   Mount Vernon advances: Mount Vernon started strong, stumbled badly throughout the rest of the first half and then pulled the piece together to beat Middletown 76-57 in the


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  • boys Class AA quarterfinals.

       After running out to an 11-0 lead, the Knights committed repeated turnovers and found themselves down 31-28 at halftime.

       "I blasted them. I asked them, 'Is this it? Do you want this to be over?'" Mount Vernon coach Bob Cimmino said. "They said, 'Of course not. Come on.' They're pretty smart when it comes to that. They're good judges of their own talent. It's difficult to fool the Mount Vernon kid. They weren't happy with the way they played."

       Mount Vernon scored the first nine points of the third quarter and didn't look back, led by sophomore Derrick Hamlin, who had 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Sophomore Marco Morency scored a team-high 17.

       Bridgehampton punches its ticket: Josh Lamison had 22 points and 15 rebounds to lead eight-time champion Bridgehampton to a spot in Glens Falls by virtue of a 60-39 win over Livingston Manor.

       Charles Manning Jr. added 21 points and 10 rebounds for the winners.

       Lamison had an uncle on the Killer Bees' 1996 state championship team. Manning's father played on Bridgehampton's last title team (and last to reach Glens Falls) in 1998.

       "It's been a long dry spell, but it feels really, really great," said coach Carl Johnson, who played for the school's 1978 state champions. "Every year, our goal is to make it to Glens Falls. Is that reasonable? Not always. But this year, we broke a drought."

       Said Manning: "My father is very proud of us, but I know he'll tell me it's not over, that we're not done yet."

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