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Tuesday, March 7, 2017: S.S. Seward edges Bridgehampton to open state tourney

   Leading off today: Down a point with 6.4 seconds to play, Bridgehampton was unable to get off a final shot and lost to S.S. Seward 61-60 in the first round of the NYSPHSAA boys Class D basketball tournament Monday.

   Jason Guerra scored eight of his 26 points in the third quarter, and S.S. Seward took a 54-46 lead into the fourth. A Guerra layup tied the game with 1:48 left. He missed two free throws with 1:14 remaining, but an offensive rebound set up Matt Stam's go-ahead 3-pointer with "56 seconds to play.

   Bridgies freshman Nae-Jon Ward made two free throws to cut the lead to one, and Bridgehampton rebounded a missed S.S. Seward free throw for a final possession. But an errant pass led to a loose ball and time expired before Bridgehampton could regroup.

   NYSPHSAA girls openers: Carle Place eighth-grader Erin Leary made a long jumper from the right corner at the buzzer, but the shot was ruled an ordinary field goal rather than a 3-pointer, allowing Mattituck to escape with a 48-47 win in the Class B first-round game.

   There was brief confusion, but Carle Place coach Michael Bello agreed Leary had at least a toe on the arc when she put up the final shot.

   "We just fell an inch and a half short," Bello told Newsday.

   Liz Dwyer scored 26 points in the win.

    • In the Class C first round, Port Jefferson downed East Rockaway 67-49 behind Courtney Lewis' 30 points. Jillian Colucci added 13 points and seven assists.

   Section 5 finals: Fairport held off University Prep to win the sectional Class AA championship, ending a streak of three losses in thee years in the finals.

   Fairport's Ryan Algier led all scorers with 15 points, and Stephen Gabel and Dan Masino each added 13.

    • Mynderse limited Newark to just eight points over the middle two periods and cruised past the Reds 50-30 for the Class B championship.

   "Defense, defense starts everything ... we played stellar defense," Mynderse senior Jake Jones told the Finger Lakes Times. "We held them to four points in the second and third quarters. That's crazy."

   Jake Mein scored a game-high 17 points and added eight rebounds for Mynderse.

   Interesting reading: Mike Zacchio of The Journal News wrote what many people have been thinking for a long time: Though student body support for girls sports at some schools is more than respectable, boys teams generally remain the focus of attention and garner more support.

   "It should be an embarrassment when a school hosts a home playoff game and the bleachers are merely scattered with fans," he wrote. "It should add salt to the wound when the visiting team equals or outnumbers the home crowd.

   "'School spirit' is not waiting until your team reaches the section semifinals or championship and then flooding the stands for the first time all year. 'School spirit' is when you regularly -- and equally -- support your school's athletic programs.

   "Constantly, female athletes can be spotted in the stands cheering on their male counterparts who don't show up to cheer at girls games.

   "If female athletes can go out of their way to support their male counterparts, why can't the favor be returned?"

   On the move: Mike Hart, the legendary Onondaga running back who's moved on to a career in coaching, has left the football staff at Syracuse University after one season. was first to report that Hart is joining the staff at Indiana to coach running backs.

   Hart previously served as an assistant at Eastern Michigan (2011-13) and Western Michigan (2014-15) after a three-year NFL career.

   Following up: You may recall the incident about a month ago in which a Williamsville East hockey player blatantly shoved a referee to he ice during a game.

   I'm not aware as to whether the player was ever identified, but we now know that Section 6 took swift and substantial action. According to minutes of an Executive Council meeting, the section banned the player from all sports for the remainder of the current school year and placed him on probation for one year from the date of the incident.

   Don't look now, but ... : Mike Toro has certainly hit the ground running in his latest coaching gig.

   Toro, whose 2013 Bishop Ford team finished off a run to the Federation girls Class AA crown while he was under suspension during a school investigation, started up the program at St. Joseph in the CHSAA this winter.

   On Saturday, the Cougars defeated Cristo Rey 57-45 to earn the CHSAA Brooklyn-Queens Class B championship.

   "To me, all along, my goal was the state championship," Toro said. "So this is sweet and it feels great. I feel like I've got a monkey off my back, but there's still more accomplish."

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