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Monday, Feb. 26, 2018: HHH East one win from defending Suffolk title

   Leading off today: Someone I correspond with a few times a year and who has a high basketball IQ messaged me late Sunday to remind me that Half Hollow Hills East stands very chance of winning the NYSPHSAA boys Class AA championship next month.

   If Savion Lewis stays healthy, the Thunderbirds indeed have the look of potential champions.

   Lewis scored 36 points and Julien Crittendon added 17 in an 87-67 victory over Brentwood on Sunday in the Section 11 semifinals. The pair combined for 12 of the team's 21 steals for the defending Suffolk County champs as part of dizzying defensive pressure.

   "They got their hands on everything," HHHE coach Peter Basel said. "The last six to eight games, those two have really meshed well together. Julien is an incredible offensive talent in transition and Savion is so quick, you just can't guard him. He gets by people and finishes at the rim.

   Lewis was first-team all-state as a junior and shapes up as a ridiculous recruiting steal for Quinnipiac.    "It's definitely a lot of fun to play in transition. We're a run-and-gun team," said Lewis, Long Island's leading scorer with a 33.5 average.

   The Thunderbirds advance to Tuesday's sectional final vs. Deer Park.

   Still invincible locally: Cardinal O'Hara cruised to a 60-35 win over Lancaster St. Mary's in the Monsignor Martin Association girls Class A basketball semifinals.

   In winning their 88th straight game against local competition, the Hawks advanced to Friday's final against Buffalo Sacred Heart. The winner advances to the CHSAA state Class AA playoffs. The loser will represent Western New York in Class A.

   Eastern Michigan commit Kiara Johnson scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the first half, helping O'Hara take a 31-19 lead.

   Reaching new heights: With the state meet coming up this weekend, Milesplit points out that this has been an exceptional year in the pole vault for New York's top boys and girls.

   Six sectional indoor records have been broken as have three state Class records and a national junior record.

   Among the boys, Dustin Meyer (Gates Chili) broke a state junior class mark this month by clearing 16-1, and his sophomore record was broken by Shane Racey (Ravena) at the Section 2 state qualifier with a clearance of 15-1.

   By Milesplit's count there are more boys over 15 feet this year than ever before, and this season ranks No. 2 for vaulters over 14 feet.

   Erica Ellis of Gates Chili is not competing in high school track this season but has climbed to No. 6 all-time among girls at 14-1.25.

   Laura Reigle (Hilton) matched the eighth-grade state mark at 10-0, sophomore Leah Pasqualetti (Orchard Park) has gone 12-6 and junior Kaeli Thompson (Warwick Valley) made 13-0.25 this weekend.

   It's been a record year for girls over 13-0.


   Counting malfunction: The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association rejected a protest Monday morning over Eagleville High's contention that scoring errors during Saturday's loss at LEAD Academy in the Region 4-A quarterfinals affected the outcome of the game.

   Principal William Tollett sent video to TSSAA assistant executive director Gene Menees after the 87-80 overtime loss.

   Eagleville contends that two free throws by Mari Stoudemire with 31 seconds left that would have given Eagleville a 76-71 lead were not counted. LEAD Academy tied the game in the closing seconds and sent it into overtime.

   TSSAA and National Federation of High Schools rules say a result cannot be overturned once a game ends and an official approves the score.

   The clock didn't restart on a LEAD basket following Stoudemire's free throws, so the officials went to the scorers table to resolve that issue. At that point, a question was raised about Eagleville's point total on the scoreboard, but both books had the same score.

   Here's the problem: Video has Stoudemire hitting the two free throws with :31 left, but neither score book showed him making two consecutive free throws at any time during that stretch.

   "There were numerous clock issues during the game. It was a distraction to the bookkeepers," Eagleville coach Joseph Reed said.    Under National Federation rules, the only time video can be used to change the scoring in a game is during a state championship, and that is in the case of ruling on a 2-point or 3-point shot.

   The TSSAA limits video reviews to instances of determining suspensions related to fights or similar situations.

   "There were lots of wrongs made by a lot of adults that affected these kids," Reed said. "I just hope I can teach them something out of all of this."

   Mark your calendar: Victor and Jamesville-DeWitt will open their season at Pinnacle Athletic Campus in Victor on March 29, making it the first indoor lacrosse game in Section 5.

   "It doesn't matter if it's indoors or outdoors," Victor AD Ron Whitcomb said. "Playing the game on a regulation field is all that matters. Given the weather in March, you are guaranteed to get the game in. It's perfect. You can watch the game inside. Their kids and our kids can just enjoy playing the game, and not worry about the weather being a factor."

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