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Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019: Odessa-Montour girls rally from 21 points down

   Leading off today: Down 19 points at halftime and 12 entering the fourth quarter, Odessa-Montour rallied to defeat Greene 52-44 in the Section 4 Class C girls basketball tournament Tuesday.

   Greene was seeded eighth and Odessa-Montour, which trailed by 21 points at one juncture of the first half, ninth.

   The Indians (14-6), who hadn't won a sectional game since 2011, tied the game with a 12-0 run to open the fourth quarter and took the lead for good when Alexis Saunders (12 points) made a 3-pointer with 2:36 to go. O-M went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line in the final minute.

   Sara Gardner led the winners with 14 points.

   "Everything we haven't done in tight spots all season long we did tonight," O-M coach Greg Gavich said. "Forced a turnover, make a big shot, bury free throws in the fourth quarter. I don't know if we were saving up for the postseason or what. ... I'm proud of their effort."

   Title for Wyandanch: Darnell Evans (17 points) scored Wyandanch's first seven points of the fourth quarter as the Warriors broke open a tight game and defeated Kings Park 66-59 for the Section 11 boys Class A basketball championship.

   Marcus Haywood scored 17 points as Wyandanch won its first title since 2010. Haywood and Evans combined for all 19 of the winners' fourth-quarter points.

   More basketball: Cardinal Hayes and St. Raymond's won their CHSAA Class AA sectional semifinals.

   Hayes downed Iona Prep 64-53 with junior guard Julien Soumaoro leading the way with 21 points and senior Joe Toussaint netting 20.

   St. Raymond edged defending Federation champion Archbishop Stepinac 69-66. Sophomore Tahron Allen was the high scorer for St. Ray's with 17 points to help offset 23 by R.J. Davis of Stepinac.

   Boys hockey: Skaneateles and Cortland/Homer, who've spent the entire season ranked in the top three in the state, have advanced to Monday's Section 3 Division II championship game.

   Top-ranked Skaneateles edged Auburn 4-3 behind a hat trick from Jack Henry. Henry connected with 8:00 to play and Garrett Krieger with 3:43 left to give the Lakers a 4-2 lead.

   In the other semifinal, Cortland/Homer defeated Whitesboro 6-1 as Jed Brazo scored twice and goaltender Brandon Ludwig made 36 saves.


   Girls basketball notes: Sleepy Hollow forfeited its Section 1 Class A playoff game to Hendrick Hudson on Saturday after learning that assistant coach Ryan Fischer had been fired, The Journal News reported.

   The Horsemen had qualified as the 22nd and final seed in the tournament. Hendrick Hudson is seeded 11th.

   Head coach Ryan O'Rourke confirmed that Fischer had been let go, but would not comment on the details, the paper reported. "The situation is very unfortunate," he said in a text message. "(The players) made a strong decision to stand behind a staff they believed in."

   Fischer declined to comment on the matter but said he was overwhelmed by the support of O'Rourke. "That's something I won't ever forget," Fischer said.

    • Silver Creek freshman Abby Rice is already in quadruple digits in career scoring. The third-year varsity player reached the 1,000-point mark on Friday during a 59-18 win over Cheektowaga JFK.

   "By mid-season as a seventh grader, her team was looking for her to be the scorer," coach Tammy Rice said. "She was a shooter when we first brought her up."

   Football notes: Starpoint quarterback Aaron Chase, who was second-team all-state last season in Class A, will enroll at the University at Buffalo as a preferred walk-on. He broke school records for passing yards (3,053), TD passes (36) and completions (193) as a senior.

    • The potential com- bining of the South- ampton/Pierson/Bridge- hampton program with Pierson and the Ross School in Section 11 is off the table for the upcoming season, and at least one other combination also will not come to be.

   ADs Joe Vasile-Cozzo of East Hampton and Darren Phillips of Southampton pursued the idea, but they were turned down by Section 11 on their request to be placed into Suffolk County Division IV, which would have been below what the combined enrollment of 1,609 would have dictated.

   Given the option of likely being overmatched in Division I or deemed ineligible for the postseason if playing in Division IV, the schools reconsidered.

   East Hampton approached Southampton about combing but was turned down. East Hampton, which sat out at the varsity level the past two seasons, will play in Division IV this fall but will be ineligible for sectionals because its enrollment would put it in Division III.

   East Hampton and Southampton could also explore going to eight-man football as early as 2020, but that would likely require at least two more Long Island schools to embrace that version of the sport.

   "It's real football," Vasile-Cozzo said. "It's thriving in many areas throughout the country so we're hopeful to go to the table in 2020 and have that option."

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