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.
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.