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Saturday, March 2, 2019: Westport girls win 20th basketball championship

   Leading off today: The Westport girls basketball team isn't quite ready to say farewell. With the school district heading toward a merger with Elizabethtown-Lewis that begins next school year, the Eagles sewed up their 20th Section 7 championship with a 38-37 victory over Bolton in the Class D final Friday.

   Eighth-grader Abbey Schwoebel scored seven of her 13 points in the second half, including the first of two free throws to break a tie with 1.7 seconds left.

   Senior Kaeli Brack added 12 points in the win. Schwoebel added 10 rebounds and four assists.

   "For an eighth grader to step up like that is impressive," Eagles coach Hokey McKinley said. "Missing the second shot was probably the better result for us so they could not advance the ball, but when Ella (King) got the rebound, we knew it was over."

   Westport advances to the NYSPHSAA quarterfinals on March 9 against Section 2 champion Bishop Gibbons.

    • Moriah seniors Madison Olcott and McKenzie Sprague bagged a Section 7 Class C championship for the fifth consecutive year as the Vikings made it six straight trophies overall with a 53-32 win over AuSable Valley in Class C.

   Sprague scored 21 points and Olcott added 13 points along with 11 rebounds and seven assists. The Vikings went on a 27-3 run to end the first half with a 31-10 advantage.

   Moriah earned Class D titles from 2014 to 2018.

   Irvington, again: Avenging its only loss of the season, Irvington defeated Briarcliff 52-49 for the Section 1 girls Class B crown.

   The championship was the fifth in a row for the Bulldogs, who returned just one starter from a year ago, and wiped away memories of the December setback.

   "There was definitely a lot of talk around the game, but that first game was definitely a wake-up call and a learning experience for us," Irvington senior Mia Mascone said. "I think in many ways it shaped us to where we are today."

   Briarcliff cut a 12-point Irvington lead into a one-possession margin in the final minute and got off two potentially game-tying shots in the last 10 seconds.

   Sophomore forward Grace Thybulle paced the win with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

   More girls basketball: Island Trees looked invincible during a long stretch of its 21-0 start, but Sewanhaka weaved its was through a pressing defense and earned a 62-52 win in the Section 8 Class A championship game.

   Ashley Cattle (19 points), Flo Hunte (17) and Samirah Akinwunmi (12) led the Indians' scoring attack to set up a state quarterfinal next weekend against Wantagh at SUNY Farmingdale.

   Lake George advances: Senior center Chris Becker converted a three-point play with 5:13 left and set up Cameron Orr's only basket of the game that put the Warriors ahead to stay as Lake George claimed its fourth straight Section 2 Class C championship by rallying for a 48-45 victory over Hoosick Falls.

   Becker finished with 16 points.

   It was the 52nd consecutive win for the defending NYSPHSAA Class C champs. Lake George and Hoosick Falls came into the contest holding down the top two spots in the New York State Sportswriters Association rankings.

   The Warriors were pushed hard throughout in contrast to their 55-30 rout of Hoosick Falls on Jan. 27 even though Panthers junior center Tristan Williams missed his fifth straight game because of a knee injury.


    • Glens Falls avenged a 2018 tournament loss by blowing past Schalmont 77-56 behind 52 points from Joe Girard III.

   With senior Kyle Vachon chasing down eight rebounds in eight minutes, Glens Falls scored 26 points in the second

quarter to take a seven-point lead into halftime. The lead was 14 after Girard scored nine points in 90 seconds late in the third quarter.

   Long wait for elusive title: Dobbs Ferry beat Blind Brook 50-45 in overtime in the Section 1 Class B championship game, capturing its first boys basketball title since 1967.

   "It's a relief," senior Zach Holzman said. "We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get this done. Anything short of this gold ball in our hands would be a complete failure. We put that pressure on ourselves knowing we had the ability to get it."

   The score was 41-41 a minute into overtime when Dobbs Ferry senior Damani Fraser hit a banked 3-pointer from the top of the key to grab the lead for good.

   Junior guard Lester McCarthy scored a game-high 15 points to go with three rebounds and four assists in the triumph.

   State tournament kicks off: Bridgehampton has won nine NYSPHSAA boys basketball championships, but the Killer Bees had never had to defeat another Long Island foe in the state tournament until this year. (See Bridgehampton's state tournament history here.)

   This winter, however, Academy Charter gave Section 8 its first Class D team in memory. But the Bees overcame that hurdle, riding Nae'jon Ward's 24 points to a 63-61 victory in the play-in game.

   Bridgehampton advances to play Section 9 champion Roscoe on Monday in what normally would be considered a first-round game in states.

   Ex-coach acquitted: Former Archbishop Stepinac assistant football coach Sheddrick Wilson was acquitted Friday on charges of hitting a player in a classroom.

   Wilson was found not guilty of endangering the welfare of a child, attempted assault and harassment for an early 2017 classroom incident caught on video. The verdict by White Plains City Judge Barbara Friia wrapped up a four-day trial attended by dozens of students who missed school to support the former LSU star wide receiver, who resigned following his arrest in November.

   "It's been an exhausting experience. I'm a huge believer in the system. I know that justice always prevails," Wilson said. "Hearing the judge render her verdict was a huge burden lifted."

   Defense lawyer Bruce Bendish said charges never should have been brought as White Plains detectives failed to interview multiple students who might have told them the five-second video played in court was taken out of context.

   Wilson, 44, was an assistant coach at Stepinac for six years, where he taught health and physical education.

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