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Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017: Long Beach knocks off Massapequa in volleyball

   Leading off today: Top-seeded Long Beach ended Massapequa's impressive run of 17 straight titles by sweeping Wednesday's Section 8 girls Class AA volleyball championship at SUNY Old Westbury.

   Emma McGovern finished with 19 kills, two assists, three aces and two blocks in Long Beach's 33-31, 25-22, 25-20 victory over the No. 2 seed.

   "This is an incredible feeling for us because we know what a talented team Massapequa is," McGovern said. "They've always been a really strong and consistent program and always have good players. We knew this was going to be a great challenge against a great opponent."

   Long Beach will play Saturday for the overall Long Island Class AA championship.

   Boys volleyball: A two-game deficit in a sectional final is usually a death knell, but Penfield dug out of that deep hole and defeated McQuaid for the Section 5 Class A championship.

   Penfield won the rematch of last year's title contest 21-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-15, 15-11.

   "We were out of system the first two games, just not doing things we're characteristically known to do -- not sealing blocks and not defending around the edges," Patriots coach Mike Fusare said. "We just weren't doing those things and we got into the system in game three and rolled with it in game four and five."

   Penfield will continue defense of its NYSPHSAA championship Saturday in the first round of the state tournament.

   Star in 'Greatest Game' dies: Sid Catlett died last week in Atlanta at the age of 69 from complications from a brain hemorrhage.

   The name won't ring a bell for 99-plus percent of New Yorkers who followed basketball in the 1960s because he made his mark as a student at Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha, the school where Morgan Wootten became a coaching legend.

   On Jan. 30, 1965, DeMatha avenged a loss from the previous season by beating Power Memorial 46-43 at a sold-out University of Maryland Cole Field House. It ended the 71-game winning streak for Power Memorial and it's star center, Lew Alcindor.

   Catlett, a 6-foot-8 sophomore who was the youngest player on the floor, played every minute and was DeMatha's top scorer with 13 points. Alcindor finished with 16 in the loss.

   Alcindor has scored 35 points in a 65-62 win when the teams faced off the previous season. For the rematch, Wootten double-teamed Alcindor with Catlett and 6-foot-8 Bob Whitmore.

   "Sid Catlett was physically what LeBron James is today," sportscaster James Brown, a former DeMatha teammate, told The Washington Post. "He was muscular, strong and he had a feathery soft jump shot. We were watching grace and greatness in action."

   DeMatha finished the season unbeaten and the big win was credited with bringing newfound attention to high school basketball.

   "It was the first really big national high school basketball game ever played," Wootten said. "That's what made it the


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  • greatest high school game ever. From that day on, there were national rankings and tourna- ments. It gave us a national reputation. I've never been associated with a greater basketball event than the Power game."

       Catlett earned a scholarship to Notre Dame an had a brief NBA career. He later worked in marketing for Converse and then as an executive and lobbyist for Motorola before a stint as a top congressional aide. He also had a radio talk show and led workshops across the country as a community organizer.

       The win over Power Memorial, though, was invariably what people remembered.

       "Nothing I was involved in was bigger," Catlett told the Washington City Paper in 2011.

       A team of one: There will be more than a hundred girls in her race Saturday, but Madison Relyea will still be all by herself.

       It's not like the Mayfield freshman isn't used to it. She's been competing as a one-person "team" for the entire 2017 cross country season, which continues this weekend with the NYSPHSAA championships at Wayne Central in Section 5. She's coming off a second-place finish in the Section 2 Class D meet last weekend and is primed to more up from her sixth-place showing at the 2016 state meet.

       Relyea was part of an actual team a year ago, but the squad was comprised mostly of seniors. She tried recruiting friends to join her on this fall's varsity but had no luck.

       "You know, they're either into soccer, volleyball or no sports at all," Relyea said. "And, I'm like, 'OK. It's not everyone's thing.'"

       She trained alongside members of Mayfield's boys team this season.

       "She runs with the boys because that's the only people she has to run with, but she's very self-motivated," coach Rebecca Newkirk said. "I can tell her to do a workout and she does it exactly -- and then faster than I wanted her to. She's extremely easy to coach."

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