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Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017: Section 1 leaving its traditional basketball venue

   Leading off today: Section 1 basketball is leaving its longstanding championships home for a smaller, less expensive venue.

   The section, which began conducting boys playoff games in Westchester County Center in 1933 and moved the girls there in 1999, announced Monday that the 2018 finals will shift to Pace University and semifinals to sites to be determined, The Journal News reported.

   "Section 1 has been a great partner. They have changed their format regarding the four counties they represent and made a business decision," said Peter Tartaglia, the deputy commissioner for the Westchester County Parks Department. "We had discussions and offered to lower our already discounted use of the County Center. We respect their decision and wish Section 1 and all of the athletes nothing but the best during the finals."

   Pace's Goldstein Center seats 2,400 spectators compared to a capacity of over 4,000 at the WCC, which installed a new floor prior to last winter's playoffs.

   "I'm just disappointed that the adults that made the decision, in my opinion, didn't do what's best for kids," Ossining girls coach Dan Ricci told the paper. "I understand there are money issues and all that stuff. Bottom line is, we're all here to help kids. Most kids dream to play basketball at the County Center. Those kids' dreams are shattered today."

   Section 1 Executive Director Jennifer Simmons said in the announcement that the section tried to do what's best for the competitors.

   "Every year we assess how to best serve student-athletes competing for a championship," she said. "This move allows us the opportunity to offer top-notch facilities, a central location and a collegiate atmosphere unmatched in the region."

    • A year after being almost completely frozen out of the downtown Blue Cross Arena by a scheduling mistake, Section 5 has received a confirmation from the building's management that the boys basketball committee can hold championship games there through 2020.

   Section 5 boys basketball coordinator Jack Purificato told the Democrat and Chronicle that there is a three-year contract with SMG.

   The section was able to play only two of its nine finals at BCA a year ago. There will be eight finals spread over the first weekend in March 2018.

   Playing at BCA is more expensive than using college gyms, but even relatively unattractive large-school finals draw crowds that can only be accommodated at the downtown arena.


   Calling all helpers, Part 1: We've begun work on the 2017 New York State Sportswriters Association all-state football teams, and this is our annual request for assistance.

   As usual, we are asking reporters to send in their selections (we will not publish your picks, just use them in the selection of our teams) by Dec. 15. Since the all-area teams picked by various publications tend to be dominated by players (usually from the skill positions) from large-school teams, getting lists of top players from the five classes, including linemen, will help speed up our process.

   Similarly, it would be helpful if the respective league or sectional chairmen could send copies of all-league teams.


  • 2017 NYSPHSAA football brackets
  • 2017 Long Island football brackets
  • Football weekly schedules
  • 2017 NYSPHSAA boys soccer brackets
  • 2017 NYSPHSAA girls soccer brackets
  • 2017 NYSPHSAA field hockey brackets
  •    All material should be emailed to Printed information can be mailed to: Steve Grandin, 28 Orenda Spring Drive, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

       If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to let us know by email.

       The all-state teams will be announced in early January.

       Calling all helpers, Part 2: Neil Kerr intends to edit the first set of 2017-18 boys basketball rankings on Sunday, Dec. 10. The folks who have been assisting him in that sport are asked to submit their weekly updates beginning that day.

       Calling all helpers, Part 3: Job changes and various time constraints ended up costing us a number of our regional girls basketball rankings advisers last season. As such, we're looking to rebuild and line up help in all 11 NYSPHSAA sections as well as New York City for the new season.

       Past helpers ready to re-enlist or newcomers with a background in the sport (especially those regularly covering basketball for media outlets) are encouraged to email me at this week if you're interested in helping. It typically requires simply updating records and noting important scores for the section's top two to four teams in each class.

       I ended up handing updates for several sections myself last season, but work and family responsibilities won't allow me to do that this winter.

       That's a wrap: The season's final state rankings in boys an girls cross country have been posted. Work is already in progress for the all-state teams.

       Up, up and away: Given the general lack of great practice facilities for that discipline, I would have never expected the pole vault to have given up the first new sectional record of the season for indoor track. But that's what we got this past weekend in Section 4.

       Making it even more impressive is that the record performance wiped a very old mark off the books.

       Vestal senior Johannes Stromhaug cleared 15-5 on Saturday at SUNY Cortland, to top the 1980 mark of Susquehanna Valley's Tom Yelverton by a quarter of an inch.

       Stromhaug's sister Kari still holds the section's girls record of 12-3, set as a senior in 2015.

       Industry news: Ken McMillan, a reporter and columnist there for 17 years is the new sports editor at the Times Herald-Record in Middletown. He replaces Kevin Gleason, who recently ended a 28-year run with the company to take a job with the Middletown School District.

       Gleason gave a final plug for the industry while announcing his departure on social media:

       "I have only one request on my way out: read. Please read stories with substance and depth, stories that matter, stores that hold people accountable."

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  • 5/27: Football gets approval to add a game
  • 4/29: Officials turning focus toward the fall
  • 4/23: Boys all-state basketball (large schools)
  • 4/22: Westhill hoops star dies in crash
  • 4/16: Boys all-state basketball (small schools)
  • 4/8: LuHi girls coach Slater steps down
  • 3/24: NYSPHSAA ends winter sports season
  • 3/18: Davis, Poole capture BCANY honors
  • 3/18: Weekly NYC boys basketball recap
  • 3/13: Dutchess Co. teams idle until April 30
  • 3/12: A day unlike any other in H.S. sports
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