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Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019: Back-to-back dramatic wins for Kenmore West

   Leading off today: One night after edging Kenmore East on a last-second, buzzer-beating 3-pointer, the Kenmore West boys basketball team did it again on Friday.

   Matt Gugliuzza took a pass from Zac Boyes and made a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to give Kenmore West an 82-80 win over Cheektowaga in the championship game of the Ken-Ton tournament.

   Boyes scored with 42 points -- including 26 in the first half -- to finish two short of the school record by Gary Bossert in 1982.

   A topsy-turvy season: This is the kind of boys basketball season it's going to be in Section 5 this winter: I see 10 teams that have a realistic chance of making it to the finals of the two Class A sub-classes and no one in Class AA that's a sure thing to get to the semifinals.

   The point was driven home with Leadership Academy's 80-78 win over University Prep in overtime in the opening round of the Mike Dianetti Memorial Christmas Tournament.

   UPrep was ranked 29th in the state in Class AA this week and probably has the best shot at ultimately representing Section 5 in the NYSPHSAA tournament in March. Leadership Academy is No. 17 in Class A and will be in the Class A-1 sectionals alongside four other teams that could just as easily make that final.

   Senior forward Kennyh Hardeman paced Leadership with his fifth double-double of the season, finishing with a team-high 24 points and 17 rebounds.

   UPrep, which had its six-game winning streak snapped despite 35 points from Melvin Council Jr., had forced overtime by overcoming a 66-55 deficit midway through the fourth quarter.

   Milestone win: Terry Chamberlain won his 300th girls basketball game as Argyle beat Bishop Gibbons 60-52 in a non-league game. Shelby Caprood finished with 19 points and 20 rebounds as the Scots avenged a three-point loss to the defending Section 2 Class D champs in their season opener.

   Chamberlain is in his 17th season at Argyle after earlier stints at Elizabethtown and Salem.

   Speaking of Eliza- bethtown ... : The Times Union reported this week on the rather smooth start to the newly formed Boquet Valley Central School District, a full-fledged merger between Elizabethtown-Lewis and Westport.

   Such mergers are rare in New York despite the fact that there are a good number of small school districts that could benefit from combining with nearby districts. Although logistics are sometimes a factor in derailing what would seem to be obvious consolidations, the story acknowledges that community pride is also often an insurmountable obstacle. As I've written before, so many people liken the loss of the post office or the high school to the death of a town as a whole.

   With that as the context, a story from a few days earlier makes me wonder if pride -- not to mention a healthy rivalry -- has gotten in the way of the combining of football teams for Whitehall and Granville.


   Granville officials are back to the drawing board if they're going to partner with another school in football next fall after the Whitehall school board decided against combining teams. The board voted 5-2 not to enter into a new sports merger with Granville (they already team up in cross country), instead hoping to recruit more players to keep its own program going.

   Whitehall is in the midst of a capital project that will leave it without a field this fall, and participation in the sport has been sliding. Granville officials needed a decision one way or the other and are now running short on time to decide their path forward, though there may be sufficient numbers to field its own team once again in 2020.

   Veteran track coach dies: Longtime Section 5 cross country and track coach Bill Wood died Dec. 21 at the age of 73.

   The former Brockport State All-American taught at Churchville-Chili for 30 years, where he became widely respected for his vast expertise as a coach, particularly in the vertical jumps. he was inducted into multiple halls of fame, including at Brockport State in 1987 and the Section 5 track and field hall in 2007.

   I first met Bill will covering his daughters in the sport in the mid-1980s and always enjoyed running into him at meets in later years, where he would joke about exploits on the golf course and catch me up on what some of his former athletes were up to in college.

   Farewell to the '10s: It felt like everyone except me got around to posting local all-decade teams in a variety of sports over the past two weeks, and it's made for some fun reading that's occasionally renewed heated debates.

   The Post-Standard in Syracuse gave the feature a bit of a different wrinkle this week by compiling a combined list of the top high school, college and professional teams in the area over the past 10 years.

   There was certainly quite a bit to choose from even if the major Syracuse University sports have generally not been much to right home about lately. Jamesville-DeWitt boys and girls basketball as well as the Breanna Stewart-era Cicero-North Syracuse girls hoops team made the list, which was topped at No. 1 by Fayetteville-Manlius girls cross country.

   Extra points: Central Valley Academy wrestler Mason Bush reached 200 career wins last weekend while going 5-0 at the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Lee Van Slyke Duals. A week earlier, the junior 120-pound competitor notched the 100th pin of his career.

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