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Friday, Dec. 1, 2017: Section 5 keeps Aquinas boys basketball in 'AA'

   Leading off today: Section 5 has rejected an appeal by the Monroe County Public High School Athletic Conference, clearing the way for Aquinas to play boys basketball in the highest classification this season.

   The unusual appeal, a bid by the suburban schools to move Aquinas down to Class A-1, was heard Wednesday. The basketball committee reposted its classification breakdowns Friday, showing that Aquinas remains in Class AA and is joined there by University Prep, moved back up from A-1 following confirmation that Jabez Thomas, 14th team all-state as a sophomore, is still enrolled.

   Nice start: Statistically speaking, it's all downhill from here for Bishop Ludden senior Danielle Rauch unless she plans on averaging a quadruple-double the rest of the season.

   Rauch packed the stat sheet with impressive numbers Thursday as the Gaelic Knights opened with an 83-22 win at Altmar-Parish-Williamstown. She finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and 11 steals in her first career quadruple-double.

   Rauch signed a letter of intent last month with the University of Michigan.

   Two deaths to report: Jill Skivington Jackett, a former modified cross country coach at Wheatland-Chili who twice won the women's division of the Rochester Marathon, was killed by a hit-and-run driver early Thursday.

   Jackett, 38, was struck while jogging near the University of Rochester. Police had not located the vehicle, believed to be a late-model sedan, or identified its driver as of early Friday.

    • Former Rochester and Buffalo sportswriter Rodney McKissic, died unexpectedly Tuesday in Buffalo General Medical Center. He was 50.

   He began at the Rochester Times-Union in 1989 and at The Buffalo News in 2001, where he remained until 2014.

   Unrest in Section 1: Monday's announcement that the Section 1 boys and girls basketball tournaments are being moved from the Westchester County Center to Pace University is not being taken well by players, coaches and fans.

   The Journal News reported that Section 1 Executive Director Jennifer Simmons provided a summary of "speaking points" to athletic directors on Wednesday, but it appears neither than email nor the original document announcing the move from the longtime championship venue was being received well.

   "As a coach who's been privileged enough to reach the County Center, nothing is comparable," tweeted Yonkers Saunders coach Anthony Nicodemo, president of the Section 1 boys basketball coaches association. "The press release from our leaders at Section 1 shows the disconnect that exists. Borderline insulting!"


   Financials, in the form of an unfavorable lease agreement, seem to have been the inspiration behind the move. The paper reported Simmons and members of the Section 1 Athletic Council, which includes several ADs, met with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino in September. But ADs who attended said they were not updated on any further discussions with county government.

   "I thought the (September) meeting went very well," North Salem AD Henry Sassone said. "Both sides talked about some of the restraints that they had. I think our side was very eloquent in how much we appreciate using the facility, and how much the stakeholders and everyone involved loves playing there. I thought there was room on both sides to make some movement. But from that point on, there was radio silence from the folks on our side."

   Sassone said that as recently as late last month there was no indication that a move to Pace was in play.

   "We need to look at the process, how it was all done -- and we have to start thinking about the kids and what they


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  • play for," said New Rochelle AD and sectional girls basketball chairman Steve Young. "To me, this isn't a decision you make when basketball starts. I would have hoped the discussions started back in the spring. ADs are upset. I think there needs to be more heard from schools, not just a decision from the section."

       The Section 1 boys and girls coaches associations have launched a campaign of protest letters written by coaches and former players to be sent to Simmons and Hendrick Hudson Principal James Mackin, the Section 1 president. Copies of the letters have flooded social media this week.

       Alumni news: I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that King Rice may have set back his presumed inevitable move to a major-college coaching job by a year with a childish outburst over the weekend.

       Rice, a Binghamton High basketball and football hero in the mid-1980s and now Monmouth's men's basketball coach, uttered a profanity in an interview with a student radio station after a four-overtime loss to Penn.

       The reporter's opening question -- "How are you, King?" -- was indisputably ill-advised after such a gut-wrenching loss, but there were plenty of alternative reactions available to Rice before insulting the interviewer and walking away.

       Rice was forced to make a rather torturous apology Monday with Monmouth President Grey DiMenna and Associate AD Jeff Stapleton in attendance, concluding with the rather obvious "I have to do better than that."

       Assistant coach accused: An investigation into illegal sexual contact between a minor and an Edgemont assistant wrestling coach resulted in an arrest Monday.    Tyler Sick, 29, was taken into custody by the Greenburgh police Special Victims Unit and charged with third-degree rape, The Journal News reported Wednesday.

       Sick is a physical education teacher at East Bronx Academy for the Future, the paper reported.

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