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Monday, Nov. 20, 2017: Panas defends its NYSPHSAA girls volleyball title

   Leading off today: The Walter Panas girls volleyball team defended its NYSPHSAA Class A championship Sunday with a sweep of Williamsville East at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls.

   The 25-14, 25-19, 25-16 victory came a day after the teams came away with a split during pool play.

   "It's gonna be unforgettable, honestly," said Tulane-bound senior Yvette Burcescu, who was selected the tournament MVP. "This was such a good experience, and I'm so sad that it's finally over."

   Panas is the first Section 1 team to win back-to-back state titles since Hendrick Hudson won three in a row beginning in 2006.

   "The seniors told me at the beginning of the season, 'We're going to win our last game this year,' and they did," coach Joe Felipe said.

   Three out of five for Owego: Outside hitter Brinn Shaughnessy finished with 20 kills and 12 digs in Owego's 27-25, 25-22, 25-19 victory over Hudson Falls in the Class B championship match.

   The outcome gave Owego its third title in four years. The Indians lost the 2016 final to Honeoye Falls-Lima after being unable to hold a 2-1 lead in games.

   "It's a dynasty," Shaughnessy said. "Being back here four out of five years in the state tournament, that's what Owego volleyball is now. I'm proud to say I've been a part of it."

   Said coach Brittney Race: "After last year, after that disappointing result in the final, they knew. They said over the summer, 'We're not doing that again.'"

   Class AA: Connetquot pulled out a 25-17, 20-25, 18-25, 25-16, 25-18 win over Shenendehowa for its second title in three years.

   After losing the final to Penfield a year ago, the Thunderbirds went through their season on Long Island without losing so much as one game.

   "Going into the fourth set, we weren't going to let this be the end of our season," setter Nicole Migliozzi said. "We worked too hard for us to fall short at the end."

   Added Cassandra Patsos: "This was unforgettable and irreplaceable, and I'll never, ever forget these girls and what just happened on the court."


   Class C: Portville, which had won Class D three times in the past decade, earned its first Class C trophy with a 25-9, 15-25, 25-13, 25-13 win over Millbrook.

   The path to the title included having to knock off eight-time defending state champ Eden to advance out of Section 6.

   "Eden is famous," Portville coach Kelly Unverdorben said. "If you can take them down in three sets, now that makes you a little famous yourself. They knew exactly what they wanted, and, of course, Eden was on their radar the entire time."

   The Panthers lost a set for the first time this season but


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  • rebounded to finish the job.

       "You can't just let your guard down against good competition at states," Unverdorben said.

       Class D: No Bainbridge-Guilford team had ever won a state championship, but that changed when the Bobcats avenged being swept Saturday by defeating defending champ Panama 25-10, 25-14, 15-25, 25-12.

       The Saturday setback contributed to B-G finishing 3-3 in pool play and having to defeat Argyle 25-13 for the right to advance.

       "We film all our games so I was up at 6 a.m. today watching our tape from yesterday and we tweaked a few things," coach Tami Selfridge said. "I think also, after having lost to them twice yesterday, they (Panama) may have underestimated us today and we played a really good game and took advantage of it."

       Basketball's back: It seems hard to believe, but the 2017-18 high school basketball season has started. With Thanksgiving falling almost as early as possible on the calendar this year, the start of winter sports practice moved up a bit and the result was some New York City teams kicking off the season Saturday in the 17th annual Hersh Tip-Off Classic.

       Host Thomas Jefferson was involved in one of the day's several close contests, beating Curtis 75-71 in overtime. A three-pointer at the regulation buzzer by Curtis' Adeleye Oyekanmi (17 points) tied the game at 64, but a Dashan Crittenden bucket gave the Orange Wave a three-point lead and Jefferson made its free throws down the stretch.

       Among the Class A highlights of the showcase was senior guard Wahaad Johnson finished with 34 points as Bedford Academy edged Fannie Lou Hamer 65-61.

       Change of address: Junior Jaylen Davis, who was key contributor at Christ the King last season, abruptly transferred to Cardozo in the PSAL last week, reported.

       Shooting guard Taj Anderson, the nephew of former NBA star Kenny Anderson, had transferred out of Cardozo to a school in Georgia shortly before the start of the school year.

       Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio said he saw Davis play a couple of times last season and sees him as a straight-up replacement. "I think he's more consistent than Taj. We butted head a lot," he told the website.

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