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Wednesday, March 4, 2020: St. Joe's shuts down hockey program for the season

   Leading off today: Administrators at St. Joseph's announced Wednesday that the school's hockey program has been shut down for the remainder of the season after their investigation revealed that several players violated the school's code of conduct during an unspecified incident.

   St. Joe's (20-3-3) defeated Lancaster St. Mary's 4-0 on Sunday to win the Niagara Cup as the Monsignor Martin playoff champion and was scheduled to play Chaminade in the CHSAA state championship game, which the Marauders won a year ago.

   "We regret the team's season must end on this note, but our investigation uncovered that many team players clearly violated our school's code of conduct. This is unacceptable and there must be consequences," school President Christopher Fulco said. "St. Joe's students are expected to meet our school's standards of conduct at all times, and in all places, including at all off-campus events."

   School officials declined further comment, citing student privacy rules.

   St. Mary's (12-8-3) will represent the Monsignor Martin Association in Saturday's CHSAA final in Brooklyn. St. Joe's defeated Fordham Prep 9-1 last year to win its 12th CHSAA championship.

   Fox sets league scoring mark: Millbrook girls basketball standout Erin Fox broke the Mid-Hudson Athletic League scoring record with 22 points to lead the Blazers in a 63-22 win over Pine Plains in a Section 9 Class C semifinal.

   The Marist College-bound senior broke former Highland star Bri Rozzi's career mark of 1,920 points, which was set last year.

   "It's nice to have the record, because it was previously held by such a great player," said Fox, who entered the game needing 10 points for the record.    Millbrook will face top-seeded S.S. Seward in the Class C final on Thursday.

   Speaking of scoring: Chateaugay senior Jonah McDonald became the first Section 10 boys basketball player to reach 2,000 career points during a 63-58 victory over Harrisville on Saturday.

   McDonald made a 3-pointer with 6:07 left in the third quarter to reach the milestone. He finished the game with 33 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists.

   He is the seventh New York boy to reach the 2,000-point milestone this season.

   Chateaugay (23-0) advances to the NYSPHSAA playoff on Saturday.

   Coronavirus news: New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Director Robert Zayas issued a memo Wednesday concerning the coronavirus, stating that NYSPHSAA is not considering rescheduling state championships at this time.

   The question that will have to be addressed, however, is what would happen in the event of school closings. Championships in the past have gone on as scheduled without full representation, such as track and field and gymnastics two years ago when a storm prevented a few buses from making it to Staten Island and Long Island, respectively.

   Head-to-head matchups in team sports have been handled differently in the past, such as when Superstorm Sandy prevented Section 1 from completing its football sectionals on time in 2012. The NYSPHSAA decreed that it would delay the start of its football tournament as long as necessary to accommodate the section.

   The question to be asked now is whether that policy would apply to long-term school closings since many districts have policies that do not allow extracurricular activities to take place on days on which school has been canceled for reasons such as weather or power failures.

   On Wednesday, administrators for the Hastings-on-Hudson and Mount Vernon districts announced schools would be closed Thursday and Friday because of the coronavirus.

   "This afternoon we were notified that a parent, whose children attend school in our district, was physically present in a location that was closed due to contact with a person who is under quarantine from the coronavirus," Hastings Superintendent Valerie Henning-Pedmonte said in a letter to parents. "Out of abundance of caution, we are closing all schools for two days to sanitize the buildings."

   She said the district will update the Hastings parents each day the school is closed. District officials didn't return inquiries regarding whether anyone tested positive for the virus.


   In Mount Vernon, a physician advised school officials that two of the district's students from the same family, attending different schools, and their family have been quarantined for possible exposure to virus.

   Mount Vernon schools will be closed until Monday so the buildings can be sanitized. The two students with possible exposure won't return to school for at least the next two weeks, according to the district.

   The family of the New Rochelle man who contracted the virus either went to or had family that attend SAR Academy and High School and Yeshiva University. The SAR High School and the SAR Elementary School will be closed temporarily, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

   New Rochelle appoints coach: New Rochelle has appointed Ray Rhett as its new varsity football coach. He has coached various sports there for 19 years, including stints as a varsity football assistant and JV head coach.

   Rhett, who has been a varsity assistant since 2017, a position he also held from 2001-04, replaces Lou DiRienzo, who coached the Huguenots to their fifth straight Section 1 championship last fall but was then suspended for the team's run to the NYSPHSAA Class AA championship. Rhett, Greg Foster, and Rich Tassello were named acting co-head coaches for the final three games, including the final in Syracuse.

   Rhett has worked as a physical education teacher in New Rochelle since 2001. He has coached track and field, softball, and basketball in addition to football.

   Reinstated: Hastings girls basketball coach John Kavanah was reinstated by the district this week three days after being sidelined by the superintendent.

   Henning-Piedmonte had previously met with unhappy parents and players, but declined to comment. Kavanah had stated last week that he had been fired, but the superintendent told The Journal News on Monday that the first-year coach was suspended.

   Kavanah's suspension was lifted in a Monday meeting with school and district administrators.

   "As you know, I had to make a tough call last week regarding the suspension of Coach Kavanah. We all care about the many facets of our students' school life and want them to have the best experience possible in our schools. When conflicts emerge, there are multiple perspectives that must be considered. Fortunately, we were able to agree to put the past behind us and move ahead. ... After speaking with the team, we agreed to move forward by having Coach Kavanah resume his head coaching responsibilities of the girls' varsity basketball team," the district said in a statement.

   Extra points: Tully star Brooke Rauber won the Junior Women's cross country championship race at the 2020 Pan Am games on Saturday in Vancouver.

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