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Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020: St. Joe's rallies past Canisius in hockey

   Leading off today: St. Joe's rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat rival Canisius 5-3 in boys hockey on Monday.

   John Armento scored on a breakaway with 4:38 left to take a 4-3 lead and defenseman Mitchell Floccare added an empty-netter with :23 left.

   Floccare, tied for second in team scoring, sparked the comeback by scoring 1:23 into the third period. Matt Orlowski followed with the tying goal.

   The teams had played to a 2-2 tie eight days earlier.

   St. Joe's was ranked No. 2 and Canisius No. 6 last week in Division I by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

   "Today is a nice win for our team," said coach Rich Crozier. "We're a scrappy group. Even getting down 3-1 today, I thought we were relentless and resilient in our approach. These guys competed."

   Girls basketball: After beating Bishop Kearney on Sunday for its finest win of the season, the Queensbury girls basketball team ran out of gas Monday and suffered its first loss of the season.

   Our Lady of Lourdes, ranked 11th in the state in Class AA, used a 13-0 spurt beginning late in the first quarter en route to a 59-45 win over the Spartans at Shenendehowa's showcase event.

   Queensbury is ranked fifth in Class A. The Spartans had downed Class AA No. 6 Kearney 63-49 the previous day.

   "We were just slow and lethargic. They were tired," Queensbury coach Megan Bethel said. "They played phenomenally (Sunday) on the defensive end."

   Our Lady of Lourdes senior guard Mikayla Russo led all scorers with 18 points, including four 3-pointers.

   Boys basketball: LaFayette defeated Faith Heritage 84-78 in an overtime contest featuring a pair of monster individual efforts.

   LaFayette 6-foot-5 senior Dylan Lyons posted a triple-double with 13 points, 21 rebounds and 13 blocked shots. Faith Heritage got a 50-point effort from junior Aiden Retzos, who made seven 3-pointers.

   "It really was just a good, old-fashioned high school basketball game," said LaFayette coach Jerry Kelly. "The kid (Retzos) from Faith was just on fire. He couldn't miss."

   Gunfire at Bronx contest: A boys basketball game between Putnam Science and Our Saviour Lutheran was interrupted by gunfire, sending players and fans ducking for cover at Gauchos Gym in the Bronx.

   No one was hurt in the incident, according to the New York Police Department.

   Response under scrutiny: Newburgh and Middletown officials plan to meet this week in the wake of video that showed teenagers being forced out of a varsity basketball game Friday.


   Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano said he plans to meet with local officials from both cities and the school districts to review what unfolded outside the Middletown gym.

   A video posted to social media showed an escalated altercation between Middletown police officers and students trying to stay inside the building after they were instructed to leave and wait outside.

   As of Sunday, no formal complaints had been made against the department, DeStefano said.

   "The video that I've seen speaks for itself, but we're dealing with young people and police and both have certain responsibilities," DeStefano said. "From what I've seen in the videos I've seen, I haven't seen the police doing anything wrong."

   Sec. 6 reverses course: Section 6 will stick with federation scheduling in football for the 2020 season, reversing a controversial decision to shift to league control of schedules.

   The announcement came following a meeting of the Section 6 Executive Committee on Monday morning to discuss an appeal filed by Buffalo Public Schools officials.

   "I think taking a year to see what may work best and talk to coaches and ADs (is the way to go) rather than speed the process up over a couple months to eliminate something that's been going on for 30-plus years in Western New York," said Buffalo South Park coach Tim Delaney.

   Said Buffalo Bennett coach Steve McDuffie: "I'm so happy about it because our kids will now receive the same opportunity they've received in the past and our student-athletes can continue to grow athletically as they do academically."

   The planned format change, which would have cut down on travel for a number of schools and also re-ignited local rivalries, was problematic for Buffalo's five varsity football teams since disparities in enrollments made formation of a city league unlikely. That would have left those schools scrambling to fill out schedules.

   More on Buffalo's schools: The temporary reprieve on schedules buys the Buffalo schools time to figure out a strategy for 2021 and beyond but by no means solves a football specific problem. The BPS has self-contained leagues in numerous other sports but football is a problem there -- as is also the case in other cities including Rochester and Yonkers.

   The school district's website lists 22 schools in the city hosting high school grades (not all with grades 9 through 12). It's impractical to think all could support football teams on their own, but the district could put a dent in future scheduling problems -- Section 6 seems destined to revert to league scheduling by 2021 or '22 -- by growing its own football programs to the point where eight of nine teams are playing.

   Naturally, that requires resources -- money for coaches, equipment and transportation. It also requires facilities, and city and school officials recently announced $80 million in proposed improvements to parks and school athletic facilities.

   The upgrades -- ranging from new turf fields to new lighting and bleachers -- would be a "generational" investment, said Will Keresztes, chief of intergovernmental affairs, planning and community engagement for the school district.

   "The completed project will represent equitable access to highest-quality sports facilities in every Buffalo neighborhood," Keresztes said. "That's the legacy this exciting work will provide for our students and neighbors."

   The Wilson Foundation paid $360,000 for a study recommending what should be done at each of the six neighborhood parks and five district athletic facilities, but there is no funding plan in place.

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