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Sunday, April 8, 2018: Morton moving from Abraham Lincoln to Nazareth

   Editors note: This blog was updated Monday at 9 a.m. with additional information on the first item.

   Leading off today: In a move sure to shake up the dynamics of New York City boys basketball, Dwayne "Tiny" Morton is leaving Abraham Lincoln to become the coach and AD at Nazareth High in Brooklyn according to multiple reports that began leaking out late last week and peaked Sunday evening.

   Morton has won roughly 500 games in two stints at the Brooklyn PSAL school separated by an appointment to the Seton Hall staff in 2014-15.

   There are numerous significant aspects to the story, not the least of which are:

   (1) Morton, whose resume at Lincoln includes four federation crowns, spent the past season under fire on several fronts.

   The PSAL declared three Railsplitters players, including coveted senior K.C. Ndefo, ineligible in mid-January over concerns that have never been detailed but reportedly are related to transfer issues. It contributed to Lincoln slipping to also-ran status in its highly competitive league and a 19-8 final record.

   In addition, Morton's name shows up in documents related to the ongoing FBI probe into illicit payments to college basketball recruits. There is an allegation Morton was paid $9,500 by former NBA agent Andy Miller and his agency, ASM Sports, though Morton has consistently maintained he has done nothing wrong.

   (2) The story out there for public consumption -- and repeated by Morton to at least one basketball outlet -- for now is that longtime Nazareth coach Todd Jamison had opted to step down in the aftermath of a 21-6 season that ended with the Kingsmen falling one win short of playing in the Federation tournament in Glens Falls.

   People familiar with the situation assure me that the more likely scenario last week was that regardless of whether he'd been pondering retirement during the season, Jamison was pushed out the door after 21 years on the job. How the timing of his awkward departure fits in with the retirement of AD Rick Dolan after 30 years is less clear, but Morton takes over both positions this week.

   (3) It's hardly news that numerous Catholic schools across the state have closed over the past 30 years due to shrinking enrollment. If the mindset of school administrators is that they can boost the size of the student body via sports, I guess I would note that soccer teams generally have larger rosters than basketball. Ditto for lacrosse. Adding either of those sports rather than giving basketball a makeover would seem to make more sense.

   Stated another way, families do not choose a school for their children based upon the potential entertainment value of watching basketball games there.


   (4) It's too soon to tell who'll end up landing the coveted Lincoln job, but interest will be intense. There was skepticism about whether the Lincoln position would be a temp job for someone after Morton left for Seton Hall, and Kenny Pretlow never got a chance to establish himself at Lincoln before Morton resumed working there.

   The odds of Morton returning for a third stint at Lincoln at some point would have to be considered nil, so this time someone will get the job for keeps.

   Boys lacrosse: Matt Grillo scored three first-half goals to help build a five-goal lead that started Ward Melville on its way to an 11-7 boys lacrosse win over Chaminade on Saturday.

   Dylan and Ryan Pallonetti and Malachi McAvoy added two goals apiece and Zach Hobbes chipped in with three assists as Ward Melville improved to 5-0. Sophomore goalie Collin Krieg made nine saves.

   "Our offense played really well early. We were poised and moved the ball," Patriots coach Jay Negus said. "Then they peppered us with shots. We had to absorb their energy and the adversity. Our defense locked it down. It was a complete team effort."

   Apology arrives: Long Island Lutheran has received a letter of apology from the New York State Federation of Secondary School Athletic Associations, boys basketball coach John Buck said.

   Newsday reported the letter acknowledged the error made in recording timeouts during the 76-72 loss to Archbishop Stepinac in the Class AA semifinals last month. The game was tied at 72 with 8.3 seconds left when LuHi was incorrectly assessed a technical foul for calling an excessive timeout.

   "We appreciate the official acknowledgement of this mistake," Buck said. "The whole situation is still difficult to process."

   Coaching news: Bob Sipperly is not back as boys lacrosse coach at Greenwich this spring, having opted to retire in the offseason with a 135-78 record and six Section 2 championships.

   Sipperly started a JV program at Greenwich in 2003. The Witches began fielding a varsity in 2005 and promptly won the sectional Class C title their first year.

   "The administration has been so good to me, they've made it difficult to leave," Sipperly said. "I stayed longer than I thought I would, but finally I said I've got to do something different."

    • Jonah Bronstein tweeted Sunday that Williamsville South boys basketball coach Gabe Michael is moving to the Monsignor Martin Association to coach St. Joe's.

    • Winston "Win" Hatt, who put together a powerful small-school cross country program at East Rochester, died March 26 in Texas at the age of 75.

   Joining forces: Hartford and Fort Edward have combined resources in baseball and softball this spring, providing a boost for a pair of sports suffering from low numbers at both schools in recent seasons.

   "We haven't had a modified in two years and we haven't had JV in longer than that," Hartford-Fort Edward varsity softball coach Scott Hasemann said. "Now we have 12 on varsity, 13 on JV and about 14 on modified. It works out for the best for the younger kids, who have a chance to play a full season on JV and improve."

   Also in Section 2, Cambridge and Salem plan to field merged teams in football, golf and field hockey this fall. The schools have combined in wrestling the past three seasons.

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