Leading off today:
The Westchester County Center will resume hosting all Section 1 boys and girls basketball semifinals and finals
in the upcoming season, the section announced Friday.
It marks the first time all games will be held at the facility since 2017. The WCC had hosted the boys championships since 1933 and the girls championships since 1999 when the section made the controversial decision to move the games to Pace University two years ago.
The section approved the WCC as host site of the finals in June, but the semifinals site was not officially approved by the sectional Executive Committee until Friday.
Ex-Batavia athlete cleared: A Genesee County jury found 19-year-old Antwan Odom not guilty of the Aug. 4, 2018, stabbing of Batavia football star Ray Leach.
Odom had been charged with first-degree assault, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, and criminal possession of a weapon. Jurors deliberated for five hours Thursday and nearly two hours Friday before returning with the verdict.
Odom put his hands over his face and wept, running to his family for hugs, The Daily News reported.
"I felt like I've been walking through the dark alone," he said. "It's hard. I don't know how I could move on with life
with this hanging over my head. Sometimes I wanted to kill myself."
Juror Carol Roberts said the jury found Odom's testimony was credible, in that he was knocked unconscious by Leach and didn't remember what happened.
Leach, then 17 and a month away from a spectacular senior football season, had confronted Odom on Aug. 4 outside Odom's house, accusing him of stealing $50 in change from his room while Leach was away on vacation. Odom testified than Leach had also accused his teamate of stealing a quantity of marijuana.
Leach suffered 12 cuts, mostly superficial. Police never recovered a weapon.
Odom's lawyer argued in his opening and closing statements that authori- ties pursued the case because Leach was the star football player, despite the fact that Leach was the aggressor.
Shortage getting worse: The Western New York Chapter of the New York State Association of Certified Football Officials'