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Friday, Nov. 24, 2017: Community stepping up after family's 2nd tragedy

   Leading off today: Two fundraisers earmarked to cover funeral expenses have collected more than $10,000 this week for Stephanie Christie, whose two sons were killed Monday, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

   Half-brothers Taylor Christie, 20, and Marion athlete Evan Woodward, 16, died after a basketball practice when Christie lost control of the car and struck a tree.

   Woodward was a junior at Marion, where he played soccer and basketball.

   Stephanie Christie's husband Sam Christie died in June of a blood clot.

   "Our school community is grieving and we extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to Evan and Taylor's family and friends," Marion Central Schools Superintendent Don Bavis said in a statement.

   College choice: Half Hollow Hills East basketball point guard Savion Lewis signed his letter of intent on Monday to continue his career at Quinnipiac next season.

   Lewis was a first-team all-state selection in Class AA as a junior.

   Baker Dunleavy, the former Villanova assistant who is the son of former NBA coach Mike Dunleavy Sr., has been busy in New York in his first recruiting cycle. Guard Tyrese Williams, eighth-team all-state for Cardinal Hayes last winter, committed to Quinnipiac earlier this fall.

    • After a year at Blair Academy in New Jersey, former Williamsville East guard Erica Martinsen is attending IMG Academy in Florida to play basketball this year. Martinsen, second-team all-state in Class A in 2016 after her sophomore season in Western new York, signed her letter of intent with the University of Virginia earlier this month.

   Martinsen is approaching the 2000-point mark for her high school career, The Buffalo News reported.

   More trouble for Gordon: Former NBA star Ben Gordon's troubles continued last weekend when he was arrested for allegedly driving with a forged license plate, The Journal News reported.

   Gordon, a former Mount Vernon star who was the state player of the year in Class A in 2000, was stopped by New York City police on Sunday when officers saw what appeared to be a laminated temporary license plate on his car. A check revealed a different expiration date than was displayed on the license plate, according to an NYPD spokesperson.

   Gordon was charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, a misdemeanor, and released without bail.



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  •    Last month, Gordon was not charged but was sent to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after Mount Vernon police responded to a confrontation between him and his girlfriend. He was arrested in Los Angeles in June after police accused him of setting off fire alarms in an apartment building. Gordon missed a court appearance in that case and a warrant was issued for his arrest, the paper reported.

       Twist to qualifying race: The Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional on Saturday in Cary, N.C., will be closely watched because of a potentially game-changing team entrant.

       Milesplit reported this week that the Brentwood Cross Country Club has entered a team consisting of six boys who did not compete for the Tennessee school this fall after a dispute that saw coach Guy Avery removed over the summer.

       The club is believed to be the first team in NXN history to race in a regional without having competed at the high school level during the season, and it has a reasonable chance of advancing to the national meet. The team only raced in the open division at two meets this fall.

       So why have they run unattached this season? After Avery's dismissal over allegations he was charging athletes to compete for the school, the six teens made a decision to run on their own. Milesplit reported the new school coaches excluded them from communications all summer.

       "To still be able to compete at that level as a group of guys, it's such a great emotional experience," runner Brodey Hasty said. "We all walked away together as this hard thing we had to do. And now we're in a position to still race together and again, we would all love to qualify. If we would be able to do it, having gone through this, that would be amazing."

       The NXN regionals and national finals fall under the label of "unofficial" high school competition. The teams that enter technically are not representing their schools and instead register under club names. But this appears to be the first time that a school will be "unofficially" represented by a team other than its actual varsity.

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