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Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019: Center Moriches scores a 'David vs. Goliath' win

   Leading off today: Center Moriches, a Class B school, became the first school outside the top two enrollment classifications, to win the overall Suffolk County boys basketball championship since 2007 with a 76-70 victory over Class AA sectional champion Brentwood on Wednesday.

   "It's never been done in history and we just made history," said Tyiquon Nix, who made seven 3-pointers on his way to 23 points in the win. "It means everything to us."

   Sean Braithwaite added 18 points and Dayrien Franklin scored all 16 of his in the second half.

   "We believe we are a 'AA' school in a Class B bracket," Braithwaite said. "So we believed we can compete with anybody on the Island."

   Bryce Harris scored 21 points for Brentwood, which play's in the NYSPHSAA Class AA quarterfinals on March 10. Center Moriches plays Cold Spring Harbor in the first round of the state Class B tournament Wednesday.

   "Brentwood has more people at tryouts than we have in our school," said coach Nick Thomas with a laugh. "But with that being said, you put five on the floor at all times and you go out and you compete."

   Class B Wyandanch won the Suffolk overall title in 2007.

   A nod to Glens Falls: I took a pass last week on mentioning stories posted online by a few media outlets regarding a list of the purported best schools in the state for high school sports program.

   My reluctance to give it any attention was based on methodology that I feel makes their process look more scientific than it actually is. Deriving half the score from self-reported survey responses and letting school enrollment count for 20 percent don't strike me as a ways of developing an accurate reflection of a school's status.

   While participation rates rightly belong in the scoring, counting for 10 percent, using Wikipedia as the source for compiling the number of championships won is a hit-or-miss proposition at best.

   On the other hand, MaxPreps posted a "best high school sports towns in each state" feature this week that it doesn't try passing off as scientific or authoritative.

   The website's choice for New York's best? Glens Falls.

   You can read their rationale here. (Hint: A young fella commonly referred to JG3 factors into their decision.)

   DeCaro won't be back: Newsday reports that Mattituck baseball coach Steve DeCaro will not return to the field after being placed on administrative leave in October, according to district Superintendent Jill Gierasch.

   DeCaro, 246-142 in 16 seasons, has been on leave from his full-time district job as a physics teacher following what Gierasch described as "complaints of inappropriate behavior.:

   Gierasch announced DeCaro will be replaced by assistant coach Eugene Rochler.


   Venues: There's been quite a bit written about tournament sites in just the past few days.

   As I built brackets for the NYSPHSAA boys basketball tournament over the weekend, the fact that the Nassau Coliseum will be hosting Class AA and A games in the quarterfinals caught my eye.

   That's the first time that's happened in at least 40 years according to Alton Byrd, vice president of business

operations for the G League's Long Island Nets.

   "If they'll have us, we're hopeful that the Long Island basketball championships will be here for many years to come," Byrd said.

    • Section 1 made the move out of Westchester County Center a year ago, shifting its finals to a college gym and granting the higher seeds the right to host semifinals.

   Numerous schools banded together these past two seasons to move those boys and girls semis back to the WCC, and it was thought at one point that all of this year's games to determine the finalists would be contested there.

   That has turned out to not be the case, however. Tappan Zee and Poughkeepsie decided that they would rather keep the home-court advantage that they rightfully earned under the rules in place. A year ago, Our Lady of Lourdes and Keio Academy made a similar choice for their girls teams.

   "It might not be what's best for Section 1 basketball," wrote Josh Thomson of The Journal News, "but that hasn't been a priority for the section's decision-makers the last two seasons.

   Writes Rich Thomaselli of Hudson valley Sports Report:

   "Sorry if that hurts the feelings of wistful traditionalists who can't imagine postseason basketball without the County Center. Sorry if that bothers fans and administrators angry that Poughkeepsie and TZ apparently went against a previous verbal commitment to play at the WCC but have now decided to play at home.

   "Trust me, you'll live. You'll survive. It's gonna be OK, just like it was OK when Syracuse left Manley Field House, when the U.S. Open left Forest Hills, when The Palestra stopped being The Palestra, when the Yankees not only built a new stadium but razed the revered old Yankee Stadium."

    • Justin Ritzel of the Citizen wrote on the subject of sectional and state championship sites, noting that SUNY Cortland had become the third home of the Section 4 boys basketball finals in four years.

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