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Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019: Rising power Knox knocks off Chaminade

   Leading off today: The Knox School may have just played its way back into the state Class B rankings in boys basketball.

   The Falcons fought back from eight points down in the fourth quarter, pitched a shutout in overtime and earned a 69-59 victory on Wednesday over Chaminade, ranked 12th in Class A.

   Markell Lake's 3-pointer from the right wing with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter forced overtime. He then scored five of his 18 points in the extra stanza.

   Junior center Josh Gray finished with 20 points and 21 rebounds, and Jaden DeJesus had 16 points and four assists in the victory.

   "It's a huge win," coach Majestic Mapp said, "We just haven't felt like we're visible in basketball. This is a real step, but we have a long way to go before we're up with the Chaminades, Long Island Lutherans and St. Anthony's."

   National honor: Lakeland's Sharon Sarsen has been named U.S. field hockey coach of the year, presented by the National High School Coaches Association.

   Sarsen, whose team's streak of nine straight NYSPHSAA championships ended with a 1-0 state-final loss in November, has amassed 639 wins during 37 seasons. The playoff loss last fall was Lakeland's first to a New York opponent since 2008.

   "Sharon's work ethic is second to none. The time she puts in is unrivaled by anyone. She puts in 12 months," Lakeland School District AD Dan Belfi said. "She just works tirelessly for the program to succeed."

   Sec. 3 athlete indicted: Jamesville-DeWitt basketball standout Teleak Robinson, 16, was indicted this week on a felony strangulation charge stemming from a July 23 incident, reported.

   Robinson appeared before City Court Judge Venessa Bogan on a trio of cases spanning six months in 2018. In addition to the July strangulation charge, he faces a September robbery charge and a December possession of stolen property charge, court records show. Robinson remains free pending further court appearances.

   The junior played in the team's first nine games before he was taken out of the lineup.

   On the move: Brian Lombardo, who resigned last summer as the track and field coach at Sweet Home, has been named an assistant coach at the University at Buffalo.

   Lombardo coached 82 Section 6 champions and 10 state titlists. Before going to Sweet Home, he coached track and volleyball at Canisius High.

    • Keith Bombard will coach Clinton Community College's new cross country program. He had 14 years of coaching experience in track and cross country, the last 10 years at Plattsburgh Seton Catholic.    he'll be assisted by Andy Hastings, who retired from Beekmantown last summer after 23 years of coaching.


   Arizona forms 'open' division: I stumbled across this tidbit while looking for something not even remotely related. My first thought was that it would be impossible to pull together something similar in New York.

   And my second thought was that maybe it's a good thing that it would be impossible to pull together something similar in New York.

   Starting next season, the Arizona Interscholastic Association will pull eight teams from the best of its large-school conferences to play in an open division in the state football playoffs. The AIA Executive Board's collective

school of thought is that a shot at the open title will push programs to strive to excel.

   Teams would play in their respective 6A, 5A or 4A conferences during the regular season, before the best eight bypass conference playoffs and move into the open division based upon a ratings system that remains to be determined.

   Given what we've seen at the NCAA level with respect to the Football Bowl Subdivision playoff system, Arizona officials can expect a ton of criticism from supporters of schools that don't make the cut each November.

   Milestone: Monroe-Woodbury wrestler Marco Vespa reached 200 career victories at the Kohl tournament in Suffern. Vespa is the sixth Section 9 wrestler to reach 200 wins and the third from Monroe-Woodbury.

   Vespa He is 34-0 with 27 pins this season. He has 121 pins in his six-year varsity career. He'll be seeking his fourth sectional title on Feb. 9.

   Career achievement: The Democrat and Chronicle wrote a feature this week on Rush-Henrietta hockey goalie Cameron Kuzniar, the presumed state record-holder for career saves.

   The senior has made 2,296 career saves during a four-year term as the Royal Comets' starting goalie. He has 611 stops through 16 games this winter. His single-game high of 62 saves came his freshman year in a shootout win over McQuaid.

   "To have a chance in Section 5 Division 1 hockey, you need someone like Cam in net," said R-H coach Brian Kleemann. "I had a feeling he was going to be something special back in his freshman season. Since then he's become an outstanding hockey player and an even better person."

   Kuzniar also led Section 5 boys lacrosse in saves last spring and will continue in that sport at Division III Lycoming College next year.

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