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The 2016-17 New York high schools year in review, Page 2

[From Page 1]

Odd team achievements of the year

   When Maine-Endwell beat Union-Endicott 50-45, it gave the Spartans four overtime wins in a stretch of four girls basketball contests in late January.

   Kyesha Talerico (23 points) went 3-for-4 from the free-throw line in overtime to cap the fourth win.

   M-E previously edged Corning 52-44, Binghamton 64-51 and Vestal 72-64 in a game that went to a second extra period.

    • Staten Island Academy went the distance with a roster of just seven players and a rookie coach in Nicole Sarcone, earning the Federation girls Class A basketball crown with a 47-43 win over Jamesville-DeWitt at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

    "We all shared this together and we fed off each other," senior forward Clare Mitchell said.

Top sportsmanship moment

   North Salem/John Jay sophomore John Emerson gave back his fifth-place medal in the boys downhill at the NYSPHSAA alpine skiing championships after watching a video replay of his performance.

   As he looked at the tape, Emerson realized he'd straddled a gate during one of his runs. It should have been enough to disqualify him, but the neither the gate judge nor anyone else had noticed.

   Emerson found a coach before the awards banquet to explain what he'd seen, and they sought out meet supervisor Dennis O'Brien to request that he be disqualified -- something O'Brien said was unprecedented in his 23 years at the state meet.

   "As a coach, I was proud of him. It was phenomenal," coach Tom Adamec said. "It was an act that was selfless, honest, compelled by integrity and most of all loyalty to oneself."

   Rather than waiting to decide recipients following the meet's conclusion, officials awarded Emerson one of two Section 1 sportsmanship sweatshirts on the spot. Competitors and spectators gave Emerson a standing ovation.


Overcoming adversity

   "Playing was a victory in itself," Holy Trinity junior lineman Tom Thayer said after his football team overcame a devastating fire a day earlier to play its Section 2 Class C quarterfinal, a 46-12 loss to Hoosic Valley.

   Holy Trinity lost all of its equipment in an early-morning arson fire destroyed the football field house at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons. Offers of aid poured in almost immediately, with the University at Albany among the programs promising to donate equipment.

   "I have tons of respect for how they rallied together and gave it everything," Hoosic Valley running back Isaac Sanchez said. football site

Some not-so-stellar moments

   With dozens of sports, hundreds of schools and thousands of athletes, you're bound to run into a glitch or two over the course of the year. Most are small setbacks from which it's easy to move on. Others remain firmly etched in our minds and deserve to be chronicled one final time -- if for no other reason that to be able to track how long it takes for someone to

make the same mistake down the road.

    • With only a handful of small-school teams, Section 1 wasn't going to have much of a boys Class D basketball tournament to begin with, but what happened on the way to crowning a champion made the event short and not so sweet.

   For the second time in six seasons, Biondi High in Yonkers screwed up the tournament with an eligibility issue. This time, Biondi had to forfeit its 67-59 semifinal win over Clark Academy after a Section 1 investigation determined the school had used an ineligible player.

   The forfeit restored Clark Academy to the tournament and set up a championship game against top-seeded MLK, except ...

   In a development considered bizarre even by Section 1 standards, Clark Academy was forced to withdraw from the tournament a day later after self-reporting a violation of its own -- the use of a player who should have been ineligible throughout the entire season -- making for the second time in five years that the Class D championship has been determined off the court. (Biondi was stripped of its 2012 title after it was determined that the MVP of the tournament was ineligible.)

   It gave MLK a berth in the state tournament with an 11-11 record and only one playoff win on the court -- over an opponent with a 1-20 record.

   "No one who plays basketball, no one who coaches the game, wants to win that way," MLK coach and AD Victor Laurenceau acknowledged. "I know our kids were upset because they were looking forward to playing one of the two teams. It didn't matter to us which one, they just wanted the opportunity to play. No one wanted to win a championship like that."

    • The Section 1 girls soccer tournament also took a strange turn when Yonkers Montessori Academy players went to bed Saturday night proud of an upset victory and awoke Sunday to learn that they had actually lost.

   Tenth-seeded YMA had left the field having beaten No. 7 seed Edgemont on penalty kicks after the squads battled through regulation and overtime scoreless. Eighth-grader Geraldine Rodriguez had seemingly clinched the win by converting her kick in the 10th round of the shootout.

   However, the officials on the field did not know the Section 1 procedure for breaking ties via penalty-kick shootouts.

[Continued on Page 3]

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