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Monday, June 11, 2018: Spackenkill senior wins Federation golf title

   Leading off today: Spackenkill senior Erik Stauderman won the boys Federation golf championship Sunday on the second playoff hole at Bethpage Black.

   Stauderman and NYSPHSAA tournament champion Adam Xiao of Manhasset had matched 74s in the one-day tournament to force a playoff. Stauderman won by making par on the second extra hole, the par-3 17th. Xiao bogeyed after his par attempt narrowly missed the cup.

   Stauderman made a shot putt for par on the par-4 18th to force the playoff.

   Suspicious scores: Two Michigan high school boys teams brought up the rear in the state Division 1 golf tournament just two weeks after they were accused of shaving dozens of strokes off their scorecards in order to qualify.

   New Baltimore Anchor Bay and Harrison Township L'Anse Cruese were never in contention over the weekend after setting 18-hole records while paired together in the regional qualifier last month, The Detroit Free Press reported.

   Anchor Bay finished 162 over par with a two-round score of 385-353-738, and L'Anse Creuse was 201 over at 401-376-777. Their first-round scores were more than 100 strokes worse than the school records Anchor Bay (284) and L'Anse Creuse (296) claimed to have shot while finishing atop the regional tournament. Grosse Pointe South won the Division 1 state title on Saturday at 299-299-598.

   The teams in question advanced out of the regional with scores that were more than 45 strokes better than their 18-hole tournament averages submitted by the schools. The scores were flagged by a rules official and opposing coaches.

   A sour ending: I took one look at the headline on Syracuse.com on Sunday -- "West Genesee lacrosse legend Mike Messere bids salty farewell to players: 'They quit a long time ago'" -- and knew that the retiring boys lacrosse coach had stirred up a hornets nest.

   A look at the number of reader comments beneath the story -- well over 400 as of late Monday morning -- confirmed my hunch.

   Ward Melville crushed the Wildcats 15-2 in the NYSPHSAA Class A championship game Saturday at St. John Fisher College, setting the table for Messere's critical comment.

   I have neither the time nor the specific insight to sort through everything, but I know from my conversation with Messere last month that this was a difficult season for him -- maybe his toughest ever -- in terms of keeping his players' attention.

   That's very likely attributable in no small part to the fact that he revealed a year ago that this would be his last season as coach. Being the lame duck is never easy.

   Messere is "old school" and hasn't compromised (I suppose "caved in" might be the more accurate phrase) much over the years, and his my-way-or-the-highway approach worked. That's indisputable. It also ticked some people off along the way. That's also indisputable.

   In that context, read the block of text in the story that made for the headline:

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  •    "The difference between this team and most of the teams we've had that have done well is the mental talent," he said. "The mental talent is not there. They don't have it mentally. They refused to have it. They've been a group together a long time. They feel they know how to play the game and how it should be played. And sometimes they can't get away from that."

       Before the fourth quarter began, Messere lambasted his players and told them the poor effort was just a continuation of the attitude they'd shown all year.

       "They quit a long time ago because they were not listening," Messere said. "That's what I said to them. You quit a long time ago because you didn't follow directions. You did what you wanted to do, and how do you like it? I've dealt with it all year long, and I warned them this is what was going to happen. They don't have that self-discipline to do the right thing, the right time, the right way.

       "It's not the wins and losses. It's the process of what goes on within the team itself. Can you reach the kids? I couldn't reach them. No matter what I did, they didn't respond. I feel bad that I couldn't give them what I gave the other guys, but that's what it is."

       Go ahead and assail Messere for being blunt, but I'd wager his take on the team dynamics is more accurate than what his critics are willing to admit.





       The next West Genesee coach likely will be successful. The sheer amount of lacrosse talent in the tradition-rich district assures that. But he would be advised to be sure to establish on Day 1 exactly who's in charge. Hint: It's not the teenagers.

       More reading: My weekend column for PressConnects.com was on Victor AD Ron Whitcomb, who is retiring at the end of the month.

       Victor had three teams is state tournament action this weekend, with the softball squad taking home a state championship.

       Whitcomb's legacy at Victor will be helping to bring about a league switch a decade ago that forced Blue Devils athletes and teams to raise their level of play several notches. They responded and Victor is now the most successful program in Section 5 and one the best in the state.


      
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