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Saturday, Feb. 4, 2018: Rome Free Academy goes 2 OTs for 15th straight win

   Leading off today: Rome Free Academy's recovery from an 0-2 start to the boys basketball season continued Friday with its 15th straight victory -- a 95-91 triumph over Utica Notre Dame in two overtimes.

   Senior Ethan Powell scored 26 points, and T.J. Behlin scored 19 and shot 9-of-10 from the free-throw line, all after the end of the third quarter.

   RFA is ranked 21st in the state in Class AA and Notre Dames is 15th in Class A.

   RFA never trailed in the second overtime period. Nick Courto's layup tied the game for Notre Dame for the final time at 88-88. Powell followed with a layup for a 90-88 lead with under a minute remaining.

   After a Notre Dame miss, Behlin and Damien Call stretch the lead from the free-throw line.

   First loss: Liam McGowan's game-winning goal with 3:54 left in overtime gave Orchard Park a 4-3 victory and ended Williamsville North's 25-game unbeaten streak in boys hockey.

   Williamsville North is the state's top-ranked Division I team and the defending NYSPHSAA champion.

   McGowan also assisted on two goals, and Jimmy Doran scored twice. Senior Grant Zell made 39 saves for the win.

   "It's been a while since we beat them," Quakers coach Josh Dannecker said. "They're a great team. Give them a lot of credit, but it's a huge win for us."

   Girls basketball: Kerry Flaherty scored a season-high 29 points on 10-for-19 shooting from the field as Saratoga knocked off Averill Park 70-65.    Flaherty scored 15 points during the second quarter as the Blue Streaks took a 37-28 lead into halftime.

   Averill Park is ranked third in the state in Class A. The Warriors had a huge 50-26 advantage in rebounding but shot just 24-for-72 (33.3 percent) from the field.

   "We knew this game would be a statement win," Flaherty said.

   Reaching new heights: Gates Chili junior Dustin Meyer set the Section 5 pole vault record with a height of 16 feet, 1 inch, surpassing the 2003 mark of Fairport's Andrew Park by four inches.


   Rally for Suffern coach set: Supporters of Suffern cross country coach Joe Biddy are expected to show up in large numbers Tuesday when the school board meets.

   Biddy, a retired teacher whose boys teams have won a state-record 762 duals and invitationals in 49 seasons, was recently dismissed.

   Supporters have already taken their case for reinstatement to administrators and school board members, and there's a sense that they may be able to get the dismissal overturned.

   Opinion: It's understandable that teachers and coaches are held to a high and strict standard. I accept that the people in charge have to set rules and enforce them. But sometimes the body of work over a span of decades needs to carry greater weight than a few words blurted out in frustration.

   To the rescue: Athletic programs assistants Dan Morse and Amanda York may have saved a life Wednesday during a meeting at the Orange-Ulster BOCES interscholastic athletics office.

   The Times Herald-Record reported they performed CPR on

a Dutchess County umpire who was in the building to work out scheduling for the upcoming baseball season. The unidentified man collapsed to the floor face first and stopped breathing.

   Morse and York restored his breathing before EMTs could arrive to transport the man to Orange Regional Medical Center.

   "I'm so unbelievably proud of Dan and Amanda. Because of their expertise, this man is alive today," said Christopher Mayo, the interscholastic athletics coordinator.

   Morse and York train hundreds of coaches in CPR/AED methods every year in the section's 47 school districts.

   More reporting: A couple of exceptional pieces or reporting and writing caught my attention but I'm just now finding the time to give them a mention.

   (1) Jamestown newspaper reporter Cody Crandall, 24, is in Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester awaiting a heart transplant, the result of viral heart failure.

   "Being here has made me realize how many people are in need of life-saving transplant sur- sgeries," he said. "Also, through my own research and through the staff here at Strong, I have realized that New York has long had poor participation in organ donation, ranking last among the 50 states. I don't think a lot of people realize how serious of an issue it is. I know I certainly didn't before I became sick."

   (2) reported on South Jefferson girls basketball coach Michelle Whitley, who has her team rolling right along at No. 15 in the state in Class B while in the eighth month of a battle with breast cancer.

   She's been through surgery and eight weeks of chemotherapy already and recently started daily radiation treatments while scarcely missing any time as a phys ed teacher and coach at her alma mater.

   "Once I met my surgeon, she changed my world," Whitley said of said of Dr. Tammy Congelli. "She was like, 'Oh, we've got this. We can beat this.' I was like, 'OK.' And I haven't looked back since."

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