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Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020: Portledge sophomore on verge of 2,000 career points

   Leading off today: Portledge sophomore Zaire Baines is on the verge of joining elite company -- and doing so with unprecedented speed.

   After scoring 30 points in an 87-68 victory over Our Savior New American on Friday, Baines is two points shy of 2,000 for his career despite being just midway through his sophomore season.

   The 15-year-old guard be back on the court Wednesday when Portledge takes on Avenues: The World School on Wednesday. That's when he will likely become just the 15th boys basketball player in Long Island history to reach 2,000 points and by far the youngest.

   Joe Girard III, now a freshman at Syracuse, holds the state record with 4,763 points at Glens Falls.

   Baines started on varsity as an eighth-grader and averaged 31.7 a game. He is averaging 27.8 this season.

   "It's funny because we are talking about Zaire and scoring and the kid doesn't even know how many points he has," coach Nick Tsikitas said. "I had to tell him how many points he had. He's now more concerned with, 'I want to get my assists up, my steals up, my rebounds up.' He's not going to be the kid who says, 'How many do I have?'"

   Baines' routine is to stay in the gym until making 50 shots from each of 10 spots on the court, along with doing his ballhandling, cardio and team work.

   "My whole thing is if I take a day off, there's always someone out there the same as me trying to do the same thing I'm doing," Baines said. "They have the same dreams. So if I take a day off, it's like they have that one step ahead of me and there are plenty of kids that want to be in the NBA."

   His meet went swimmingly: Lockport's Mark Crocker set multiple records in the Lions' 122-63 swim victory over Niagara Wheatfield.

   Crocker was times in 21.38 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle to set school and Lockport pool records. The old school record of "21.62 was set by Brad Brunne in 1978.

   Later, Crocker swam a :51.08 in the 100 butterfly event to break school, pool and Niagara Frontier League marks that had stood since 1988.

   St. Raymond's rolling: Third-ranked St. Raymond's rolled past No. 13 Iona Prep 76-56. Reggie Hudson had a game-high 18 points to go with four assists, and Luis Kortright chipped in 11 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. Malachi Smith added 15 points, six rebounds and four assists.

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   More boys basketball: Josh Germain's sixth 3-pointer of the evening sewed up Mechanicville's 60-51 victory over Hoosick Falls to end a 56-game league winning streak for the Panthers.

   Hoosick Falls shot just 4-for-29 in the second half.

   Milestone win: Gananda defeated Williamson 57-43 to give boys basketball coach Jeff Thomson his 300th career win.

   Florida wrestles with pay issue: All school administrators interviewed on the topic agreed recently that sports officials deserve more money, but some question the large jump in pay approved by the Florida High School Athletic Association and how it will affect budgets.

  
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   The FHSAA announced late last year an increase in the maximum per-game rate for officials in 12 varsity sports that averages 43.6 percent and 55 percent or more for six sports.

   The new pay scale was created by a task force that included five officials and five high school athletic directors. The per-game fees were decided upon by averaging the officials' pay rate in eight Southeastern U.S. states, then adding $5 plus a 10 travel fee.

   "The problem is this is catchup pay, because (the FHSAA) has been delinquent in giving a raise for so long," said Robb Mackett, president of the Greater Naples Officials Association. "That's why this is so dramatic. It looks dramatic but it's only the average of what other officials (in other states) are getting."

   Cocoa High AD Mark Carstens said his department spends $25,000 per year on officials and estimated the raises could increase that by about $6,000.

   "We're going to have to absorb that cost or charge more for tickets," he said. "For me, the big concern is how its going to affect attendance if we have to raise ticket prices."

   Track star turns pro: Briana Williams, the 17-year-old Florida sprinter who broke the national high school 100-meter record in June at Jamaica's Senior Track and Field Championships, has turned pro.

   Williams will be represented by HSI International and has also finalized a sponsorship contract with Nike.

   Williams is coached by four -time Olympic medalist Ato Boldon.

   Williams set a national high school class record of :10.94 (+0.6) in the 100 meters in June while finishing third at Jamaica's senior championships, which qualified her for the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar. However, the time was not ratified as record after Williams tested positive for a diuretic. She was later found not at fault for the test result based on an independent investigation.


  
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