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Monday, March 6, 2018: New Paltz wins title in triple overtime

   Leading off today: Mike Holohan certainly got the most of his 18 points Monday in a 78-77 victory.

   The New Paltz senior forward made a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to force overtime, converted a layup layup with :02.1 to go in the first OT to tie again and made a layup with :14.6 to play in the second OT to bring on yet another extra session that finally subdued Saugerties for the Section 9 boys Class A basketball championship.

   "I'm drained," Holohan said. "I left it all on the court and it paid off. Now, we have something else to work for tomorrow."

   Holohan's clutch plays helped New Paltz overcome 39 points by Saugerties eighth-grader Dior Johnson, who fouled out in the first overtime. New Paltz junior Casey Burke had a team-high 23 points.

   Kevin Murphy's free throw 15 seconds into the third overtime was the only point scored in the extra session.

    • Saugerties' Johnson said on social media Tuesday that he will be attending Montverde Academy in Florida for his freshman year.

   It had been widely assumed that he didn't intend to stay at Saugerties, though the timing of the announcement may have surprised.

   "I've been recruited by this prep school since I was 12 years old," he said in the posting. "I'll be playing with my good friend which is good sign of me being comfortable ... this is the best place for me to become a better Young Man and great 'STUDENT-Athlete.'"

   Last month, Johnson became the first New York boy to reach 1,000 career points before his freshman year. Johnson finishes his stay at Saugerties with 1,098 points.

   Unbeaten run ends: Junior guard Miles Brown scored six of his 39 points in the final two minutes as Northstar Christian defeated Pembroke 80-72 for the Section 5 Class C-1 championship.

   Pembroke had carried a 23-0 mark into the contest and got double-digit scoring from each of its five senior starters. But Northstar's Brown was 13 of 20 from the field, including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers. He also had 5 assists and 4 steals.

   State tourney opener: J.P. Harding's steal any layup with :16 to play wrapped up Bridgehampton's 50-48 win over Livingston Manor in the first round of the NYSPHSAA boys Class D basketball tournament at Suffolk County CC-Brentwood.

   Harding finished with 14 points.

   Allan Ward's 3-pointer with :01.7 remaining cut Bridgehampton's lead to 50-48, and the Wildcats fouled on the inbound pass. Both free throws were missed, but Livingston Manor was unable to get off a shot before the final buzzer.

   Fair punishment? A procedural error related to a charity game that raised $800 for the Hudson Valley Chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network has resulted in two Section 1 boys basketball coaches being hit with suspensions to be served as the start of next season.

   The penalty, reported last week by OutSports.com, raises questions about whether the punishment was merited. And, if so, was it even dished out to the right people?

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   Somers coach Chris DiCintio and openly gay Yonkers Saunders coach Anthony Nicodemo were assessed the suspensions by Section 1 for the Pride On The Court contest played Jan. 20 at Sarah Lawrence College, the website reported last week.

   Section 1 determined that Saunders AD Jim Rose did not submit the proper paperwork to host the event at the college and have it supported by Nike, but Nicodemo contends Rose received verbal approval prior to the game from Jen Simmons, the section's executive director.

   "My athletic director is tremendous with rules and regulations," Nicodemo said. "So having (Simmons) tell him he doesn't have to put in any paperwork, and then a month later says he had to put in paperwork, that puts us into a difficult spot here."

  
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   Nicodemo said that neither the coaches nor their ADs were allowed to present a defense to Section 1 before the penalties were handed down.

   The website said Simmons did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

   Weighing in: Section 1's handling of the procedural error raises questions, beginning with the obvious: Did Simmons give Rose bad info? Did Section 1 really hand down the penalty without hearing from Rose or Nicodemo? Did the violation of a NYSPHSAA rule really merit a suspension? If so, did they take action against the right people?

   Rule 19 (d) from the NYSPHSAA Handbook:

   For any violation of eligibility or sports standards a school authority may be censured, placed on probation, or suspended by the Section Athletic Council.

   North Salem AD Henry Sassone, a member of the section's Athletic Council, was at the meeting and voted against suspending the coaches.

   "There are plenty of rules coaches know, like the number of practices you need before your first game of the season," Sassone told the website. "But this rule that apparently was not followed is a rule that the coach is not responsible for."

   He suggested that sending a letter to the superintendents and principals would have been sufficient.

   And then there's the elephant in the room, namely the lawsuit that put Section 1 in the headlines -- and not in a flattering sort of way -- for the back half of the season.

   Nicodemo was a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in January in a bid to stop Section 1 from moving its basketball tournament semifinals and title games


out of the Westchester County Center. Somers AD Roman Catalino -- DiCintio's boss -- was another vocal critic of the decision to move finals to Pace University and was a force in getting a number of schools to surrender home courts and play semifinals at the WCC, an indisputable slap in the face of Section 1.

   The lawsuit labeled the section "a dysfunctional organization which operates in the dark through a culture of fear and intimidation, refusing to disclose to the public, who it was created to serve, and its member schools basic facts underlying its decisions."

   I don't suppose that went over well with the folks making decisions in Section 1.


  
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