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Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017: Seton Catholic girls keep rolling

   Leading off today: Binghamton Seton Catholic scored the first seven points and never trailed Saturday during a 55-47 win over Elmira's girls in the finals of the 19th annual Josh Palmer Fund Elmira Holiday Inn Classic.

   Elmira was ranked sixth in Class AA and Seton Catholic 11th in Class A last week by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

   The title was the third in a row for the Saints at the tournament and came after they beat Class AA No. 11 Rochester Bishop Kearney on Friday. Hanna Strawn was named tournament MVP after scoring 23 points in the final, and Ava McCann scored 22.

   Seton Catholic is coming off a Federation Class B championship last season.

   More girls basketball: A 12-3 run in the fourth quarter helped Our Lady of Mercy overcome a late deficit to defeat Liverpool 64-62 in the Hoops for the Hospital Holiday Classic at the SRC Arena.

   Mercy began the week 20th and Liverpool 22nd in Class AA. The Monarchs bounced back after a 63-60 loss to unranked West Genesee the previous night.

   Six straight points from Kyra Grimshaw (25 points) gave Liverpool a 54-49 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but Mercy's Traiva Breedlove (27 points) scored eight points to key the 12-3 run that gave the Monarchs the lead.

   Hmmmm, that's different: Jeff Mlinar, the program director at Empire State Takeover, has been giving us a hand with girls basketball rankings information each week this season. If you're a fan of the sport, you really should be following him on Twitter at @NYSTakeover.

   Jeff gets out to quite a few games in the course of doing what he does, and his weekly updates to the New York State Sportswriters Association contain some great news nuggets that I'd like to start incorporating into blogs, a topic I'll elaborate upon a little further down.

   Here's a an example:

   Jeff was at a Binghamton girls game last week. Though he did wonder if they have the depth to stick with Elmira for 32 minutes, he was impressed with what he saw. He also noted that there are times Binghamton might not have to go the full 32.

   That's because he reports that the Patriots' 64-62 win over Summit Academy, which he didn't attend, apparently ended with the Brooklyn charter school's coach pulling the team off the court with about 30 seconds to go over a beef with the officiating during the showcase event at Davis College in Johnson City.

   Summit, by the way, plays in the PSAL's Brooklyn Class AA league and is 4-6 against a fairly rigorous schedule.


   Indoor track: Semper Citius was the story of the day for Section 5 in the Marine Corps Classic at The Armory in New York City.

   Senior Lanae-Tava Thomas (Rush-Henrietta) and junior Vanessa Watson (Spencerport) posted impressive performances Friday to close out 2017.

   Thomas won the long jump with a leap of 20-2, adding an

inch to her season best, then tacked on a victory in the 200 meters in :23.87 as she continues to stalk the state record of :23.48.

   Watson posted wins in the 300 and 400 meters in times of :39.26 and :55.61, respectively.

   Priorities and the new year: Part 1 of the NYSSWA all-state football team will be unveiled Wednesday and we'll be posting our first wrestling team rankings of the year Monday, which will finally get us up to full speed on the winter sports season.

   Almost as quickly, though, I anticipate dialing back some of my own work on this site -- particularly blogging -- a notch for at least the next several weeks.

   I'm hoping the reduction in blogging isn't too drastic in terms of frequency or the depths I go to dig up news of interest, but I do have to make some room in my schedule for a new part-time job I accepted in my never-ending bid to remain semi-retired while still assuring a never-ending supply of kale, basil and bananas for our pet rabbits.

   The new gig required the operators to build a staff of more than a dozen people from around the country almost overnight and has been in the testing phase for a couple of weeks ahead of Monday's live rollout. True to the nature of every sports job I've ever had, it requires working some nights, weekends and holidays (New Year's Day, for instance).

   I'll hopefully be back to a normal routine with NYSSWA stuff by the end of January.

   Extra points: Duke freshman forward Jordan Tucker will transfer out of the ACC school's after a one-semester stay in Durham, men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski confirmed Sunday. Tucker, a former White Plains and Archbishop Stepinac standout who played his senior season in Wheeler, Ga., played a total of 14 minutes with the Blue Devils and scored six points.

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