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Monday, Jan. 6, 2020: Holy Trinity's Long buries 14 3-pointers in win

   Leading off today: T.J. Long had quite the weekend for the Hicksville Holy Trinity boys basketball team.

   Long scored 24 points Saturday in the Titans' 73-70 win over Iona Prep and then really went off on Kennedy Catholic on Sunday. He scored 46 points on the strength of 14-for-18 shooting on 3-pointers as Holy Trinity rolled to an 88-49 win.

   Holy Trinity improved to 8-1 heading into its league home opener Tuesday vs. Manhasset St. Mary's.

   Girls basketball: Cardinal O'Hara held Williamsville South 6-foot-5 center Amari DeBerry to five points and posted a 53-41 win in a matchup of top Western New York teams.

   Cardinal O'Hara is ranked 10th in the state in Class AA and Williamsville South is first in Class A.

   Junior guard Mia McCarthy led the Hawks with 19 points and Amelia Strong had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

   "This was a really big game," said McCarthy, who also had four steals. "If we can beat them, we can beat anyone."

   Cardinal O'Hara and Williamsville South will face off again Feb. 21. Sunday's game was a late addition to the schedule after a common opponent canceled games against both teams.

   Niagara lands Sec. 5 star: Hilton basketball star Tah-Jae Hill announced on Twitter that he will play for Niagara University next season.

   Hill, a fourth-team all-state selection as a junior, is averaging 30.7 points per game for the Cadets including a career-high 49-point performance in December.

   "I stayed true to who I am, stayed true to my craft and most importantly stayed true to (the) man above," he wrote on Twitter. "I want to thank my family for always having my back no matter what I do and always pushing me to go harder."

   Chester supporting coach: Chester boys basketball co-captain Gianni Johnson sensed something wrong when he looked at coach Jon Marsilio's face after a win over Fallsburg on Friday. He learned that Marsilio's mother had died earlier in the day from complications due to pneumonia, and Johnson called his teammates together. They formed a circle around Marsilio for a team hug.

   "He's always there for me," Johnson said. "He's the first person there. We were all emotional. We are all here for him.

   "He's the most important person on this team because he leads us. He's a great coach. I've been playing varsity for four years. He knows exactly what to say and what not to say. He's a great coach and great guy."

   Chester was back on the court Sunday and defeated S.S. Seward 69-29 in the opener of the Slam Dunk Heart Disease Games in Newburgh.

   Quite a twin bill: An Ohio high school took an innovative approach toward creating interest in two distinct sports over the weekend.

   Wooster High's seventh annual Beauty & the Beast Invitational pairing wrestling and gymnastics meets in the same gym as one combined event. The bleachers were filled for most of Saturday's three-hour event.

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   "It's bouncier, the energy's bigger," Wooster gymnastics coach Debbie Knapic said. "Routines go bigger. It's just a ton of fun. It makes it worth the effort to move it up here to give them that memory to take with them."

   Said AD Joe Rubino: "It's really important to the athletes We'll do anything we can to (do) this for them and continue giving them an opportunity to have success in that format."

   Coming up: The New York State Sportswriters Association will begin unveiling its all-state football team at noon on Wednesday with the release of the selections in Classes B, C, D and eight-man football.

   The Class AA and A picks will be released Jan. 15.

  
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   Sites come, sites go: USA Today forever changed the way high school sports were covered when the national newspaper was born in the early 1980s. The Gannett flagship came out with weekly regional and national rankings in a variety of sports, all-USA selections and features on athletes who would later become known nationally for their exploits at the college and pro levels.

   Alas, the end appears to have come. USA Today's high school sports silo has been collecting cobwebs since Dec. 20. Earlier in the month, the closing of the deal to merge GateHouse and Gannett was followed in quick order by layoffs across the chain, and the high school sports production staff at USA Today reportedly was gutted.

   It's unknown whether the paper will continue to produce its all-star teams at the end of the respective seasons.

   But just as sites go, they also come. That's the case with a couple of basketball sites I've been meaning to mention -- one that's new and one that's been around awhile but is now more robust than ever.

   The first of the two sites is HighSchoolSportStats.com, which Phil Abel is operating. Abel ran the official Section 5 boys hoops site for many years and was ahead of his time in providing information throughout the season, including sectional seeding points updates each day.

   The drawback to that site was that it didn't offer a convenient way to look up game-by-game results for individual teams. Abel has solved that at HighSchoolSportStats.com, where he is tracking boys and girls hoops for Section 3 teams. Every team's results and remaining schedule are just one click away, and teams can also enter their own game-by-game stats.

   The other site I wanted to acknowledge is NewYorkStateHighSchoolBasketball.com, developed by Rich Aylward and Brian Rademaker for the past several years. It's entirely possible that it's the best high school website for any high school sport in New York and a contender for the other 49 states as well.

   In taking a spin through the site last month while looking for Section 5 scores, I not only found scores but league standings, sectional class seeding points standings and a chart with nearly a century's worth of sectional champions. Other sections get similar treatment.

   My favorite aspect of the site though is the nearly complete menu of playoff brackets for sectional tournaments across New York as well as state tournaments. I've probably already referred to that silo 50 times in the past two weeks.


  
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