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Friday, Dec. 21, 2018: New Jersey ref tells wrestler to cut deadlocks

   Leading off today: A controversial New Jersey high school referee made a wrestler choose between cutting his dreadlocks or forfeiting his match during a meet Wednesday, USA Today and local media reported.

   Buena (N.J.) Regional wrestler Andrew Johnson, who is black, had his dreadlocks covered before his 120-pound match against May Landing Oakcrest competitor David Flippen, but referee Alan Maloney told Johnson he could either cut his hair or forfeit the match. Johnson chose the haircut, then won 4-2 by sudden victory in OT to help Buena to a 41-24 win.

   The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said it has been in contact with school officials for incident reports, and have requested a report from the referee involved. The NJSIAA also provided preliminary information to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.

   Maloney, who is white, was accused of racism in 2015 when he was accused of directing a racial slur at a black referee at a private gathering. Maloney told the Courier-Post he did not remember making the remark but accepted the eye-witness accounts of those who did recall him saying it.

   Maloney agreed to participate in sensitivity training and an alcohol awareness program in the aftermath of that incident.

   The NJSIAA has recommended that Maloney not be assigned to any event until the latest matter has been reviewed.

   Girard held in check: State career scoring leader Joe Girard III was held to a season-low 22 points Thursday as Glens Falls lost to Petal (Miss.) 78-56 at the City of Palms Classic in Florida.

   Girard came into the tournament averaging 45 points per game.

   petal improved to 11-0. Glens Falls is 6-1.

   Early signing period: There's no getting around the fact that New York is heading or one of its worst years ever in terms of sending seniors off to Football Bowl Subdivision colleges next fall. Only a handful of players have signed or maintained their commitments to FBS schools in the early signing period that began Wednesday and concluding today. (See list here.)

   Canarsie defensive end Adisa Isaac, regarded by many as the state's No. 1 prospect in the class of 2019, finally confirmed the expected by committing to Penn State.

   The one surprise Wednesday came out of Section 6, where Lockport wide receiver Malik Brooks, who had been committed to the University at Buffalo, instead signed with FCS member Monmouth University of the Big South Conference.

   Brooks set the Section 6 record for receiving yards (1,244) in a season last fall. making 47 catches for 17 touchdowns.


   New to the 2K club: Franklinville girls basketball star Dani Haskell reached 2,000 points for her career Wednesday with 35 in a 66-42 win over Randolph.

   Haskell also had seven steals.

   “She was hitting on all cylinders," Randolph coach Shawn Huntington said. "You have to be alert all the time because she's pretty much money anywhere on the court."

   'Fed'-style scheduling follow-up: Judging by explanations of what Federation-style scheduling entails for Section 5

football beginning next fall, the biggest loser in the deal could be the Monsignor Martin Association, which loses access to Aquinas and McQuaid.

   The Democrat and Chronicle and both explored the broader topic this week, noting that Section 5 will be assigning teams to divisions that align with the five state classifications and will also fill out the non-league portion of schedules.

   Barring the occasional quirk, that will give Aquinas a full slate of local competition for the first time in recent memory and end series against Canisius, St. Joseph's and St. Francis, replacing them with the likes of Rochester Edison and Leadership Academy.

   It will also save the Little Irish from having to scramble to find out-of-state opponents to fill out the schedule. Their only loss last season en route to an eighth NYSPHSAA championship was in overtime to a school from Washington, D.C.

   "There are a lot of quality opponents in Section 5," Aquinas coach Derek Annechino said. "We have an opportunity to play them, they have an opportunity to play us. It'll be good football."

   It also brings other schools back into the fold. Batavia stopped playing a Monroe County League schedule several years ago and Honeoye Falls-Lima went the independent route this past fall. Both were undersized by Monroe County enrollment standards.

   The tradeoff is that some league rivals will be separated. Pittsford vs. Victor has been one of the better matchups in the Section in recent years but won't happen for at least another season or two until Victor grows into Class AA.

   Extra points: Frewsburg will become the first Section 6 team to convert to eight-man football this fall, reported this week.

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