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Monday, July 24, 2017: Boys lacrosse all-state team announced

   Leading off today: Stalwarts from two Long Island schools that earned state championships last month have been selected players of the year on the inaugural New York State Sportswriters Association all-state team for boys lacrosse.

   Defenseman Andrew McKenna was named the large-school player of the year after helping Ward Melville to the NYSPHSAA Class A championship with a dramatic rally against Pittsford.

   Small-school player of the honors go to Cold Spring Harbor attackman Ian Laviano, a five-year starter for the NYSPHSAA Class C champions. Laviano finished with 68 goals and 39 assists this spring.

   McKenna is headed to the U.S. Naval Academy later this summer, and Laviano is headed to Virginia.

   The full all-state team is posted in our reference section.

   Harris earns another bronze: Recent North Rockland graduate Alex Harris beat her personal best by 11 seconds Sunday to finish third in the girls 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Pan-American Junior Games Championships in Trujillo, Peru.

   The Villanova recruit's time was 10:14.76. Her previous best was 10:25.80 last month at the U.S. Track and Field Outdoor Track and Field Junior Nationals.

   Fellow American Sarah Edwards from Virginia Tech won Sunday's race in 10:10.68.

   Harris also earned Pan-Am Junior Games bronze in 2015 in 10:31.79.

   Two wins from $2 million: Although it's been a subject of interest in Central New York, it's a fair guess that most of New York hasn't been following The Basketball Tournament, an ongoing pro event with a $2 million first-place prize at stake.

   On Sunday, the Boeheim's Army squad booked its place in the semifinals with a ridiculous rally to beat Team FOE 72-67. Boeheim's Army finished the game on a 40-10 run to dig its way out of a 25-point deficit midway through the second half.

   Boeheim's Army is coached by Ryan Blackwell, a Syracuse grad who coaches the Liverpool boys varsity.

   The final four in the winner-takes-all TBT is Aug. 1 and 3 in Baltimore.


   Interesting reading: The latest round of private vs. public schools squabbling in New York has more or less died down, but the issue is alive and well in Pennsylvania., a website of the Delaware County Daily Times, took a deep dive into the subject last week with a rather impressive series of stories.

   Part I was a scene-setter drawing from history and framing the current debate. "A disproportionate share of titles is being won by private schools, a discussion surfacing most vociferously after the football and basketball championships," Matthew De George writes. "But the paradigm of domination by private schools isn't limited to even a handful of sports. The perceived imbalance fosters animosity on all sides, from

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allegations of lopsided playing fields to the well-worn 'sour grapes' trope hurled toward the defeated."

   The key statistical takeaway -- and the reason public vs. private is a hot topic there again -- is that private schools make up 18.9 percent of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association membership but accounted for 32.9 percent of team championships over the past nine school years.

   Part II examines how private schools came to be given entry into the PIAA in 1972 and the political aspects since.

   Part III gets into how the arrival of charter schools has further complicated the landscape in Pennsylvania high school sports.

   Part IV delves into recruiting rules and transfer policies.

   Alumni news: For the life of me I cannot remember who I was having this conversation with during the Federation basketball tournament in March, but the two of us were recalling past greats from Christ the King and we wondered the same thing: Why do we hear so little about Sue Bird, the 1998 Miss New York Basketball award recipient?

   Bird was a high-profile star at UConn and attracted some attention along the way by playing on four Olympic championship teams since 2004. She's also been a nine-time WNBA All-Star. Aside from the fact that she plays for a team 3,000 miles away, Bird cherishes her privacy.

   Mechelle Voepel of ESPN recently scored the interview that gives us some insight into one of the best players in state history.

   Extra points: The Siena College basketball career of former Penfield all-state selection Margot Hetzke has come to a close a year early due to numerous injuries, including concussions, the past two seasons. Hetzke, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rookie of the year as a freshman, will remain with the team as a student assistant coach.

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