Ron Moshier - Sports

Friday, January 22, 2010

Moshier: Boys basketball scene blurry at best

It’s getting more and more difficult to figure out this boys basketball season.

Around these Section III parts, there are only a few sure things: Class D New York Mills and Class C West Canada Valley, unbeaten and ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the state, respectively, are for real, and Thomas R. Proctor High School’s Raiders remain one of the many Section III title contenders in a wide-open Class AA race.

After that, it’s hard to determine who’s up and who’s down. There were more examples of that over the past week or two.

In the Tri Valley League: East Division leader Notre Dame lost its first league game of the season to Whitesboro (59-56), Camden ended an 83-game TVL losing streak with a win over Clinton (53-51), and then Clinton turned around and beat New Hartford (52-48).

In the Center State Conference: Little Falls’ Mounties may be last in the Division I standings and 0-14 overall, but in their last three CSC I games they have lost to Frankfort-Schuyler 74-72 in overtime, lost to league-leading Dolgeville 59-55, and lost to 13-1 Mohawk 54-50 in overtime.

And two CSC rematches I thought would be worth watching turned out to be mismatches: Division II leader Mount Markham avenged a 56-53 loss with a 65-50 romp over Sauquoit Valley that wasn’t nearly as close as that final score might indicate and Division III leader West Canada Valley cruised to a 63-37 win over Westmoreland, whose Bulldogs had won nine straight and were hoping to avenge their only loss.

What does all of this parity (some might say, mediocrity) mean? It means that New York Mills and West Canada Valley are the only area teams you can really count on playing for a Section III title when the Utica Memorial Auditorium hosts the boys’ championships March 5-7.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Moshier: NY Mills boys basketball No. 1 in the state

Defending Section III Class D boys basketball champion New York Mills (11-0) is the new No. 1 in the New York State Sports Writers Association’s weekly state rankings.

 

Coach Mike Adey’s Marauders had been ranked second behind defending state champion South Kortright of Section IV, but the Rams’ 33-game winning streak was snapped last week when Davenport beat them 55-52.

 

Davenport (8-0) is ranked second this week, followed by South Kortright and Maple Grove. Watertown’s Immaculate Heart Central (9-1) of Section III is No. 7 and Sackets Harbor is No. 12.

 

Thomas R. Proctor High School’s boys, meanwhile, haves cracked the Class AA state rankings for the first time this season. Coach Norm Stamboly’s Raiders, 9-1 and riding a nine-game winning streak, and ranked No. 24 in this week’s Top 25 poll. Proctor is the only Section III team ranked in Class AA. Cicero-North Syracuse, Fayetteville-Manlius, Liverpool, Syracuse’s Christian Brothers Academy, and Corcoran are honorable mentions.

 

Proctor, a 64-34 winner over visiting Rome Free Academy on Tuesday, has three tough road games coming up, including Friday’s trip to Liverpool and visits to Henninger and Cicero-North Syracuse next week.

 

Two-time defending state champion Jamesville-DeWitt remains No. 1 in the Class A poll, with Utica’s Notre Dame High School moving up three spots to No. 10. Westhill is No. 10 and Bishop Grimes is No. 13 in Class B.

 

Unbeaten West Canada Valley has climbed to No. 3 in the Class C rankings, behind Marion of Section V and Buffalo Middle College of Section VI. Tully is ranked 14th in Class C.

 

Moshier: Randall's Spartans impress

Win or lose, you have to be impressed with the job New Hartford High School head coach John Randall has done with his boys basketball team this year.

 

Despite losing starting point guard Trevor Callahan (broken wrist) for the season, and despite another injury to guard Robert Broccoli, Randall and assistant coach Andy Goodelle have their Spartans playing hard and playing well.

 

Led by sophomore Derek German, seniors Ammar Kaashmiri and A.J. Wolfanger, and juniors Vinny Servadio and Ben Zalewski, New Hartford – just 6-15 last season – is a surprising 8-3 overall. The Spartans improved to 6-2 in the Tri Valley League on Tuesday night, Wolfanger scoring 19 points and German adding 14 en route to a 60-56 victory over TVL West Division leader Oneida. The Spartans made 11 3-pointers, with Wolfanger, German and Kaashmiri finishing with three apiece.

 

Last Friday night, New Hartford led TVL East rival Whitesboro by 10 in the third quarter, but the Warriors scored the game-winner with two seconds left and won 52-50.

 

Don’t be surprised if Randall’s Spartans put TVL East leader Notre Dame to the test next Friday when they host the state-ranked Jugglers.

 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Moshier: McGwire not Hall worthy

Mark McGwire wasn’t Hall of Fame worthy before this week’s admission.

 

Before coming “clean,” he was a one-dimensional, .260 hitter. Now, he’s a one-dimensional, .260 hitter who cheated.

 

That should be more than enough to keep him out of Cooperstown. Let’s hope so.

 

Moshier: "Moore" class by Holland Patent coach

Notre Dame High School senior Pat Moore, a class act on and off the basketball court, became the Jugglers’ all-time scoring leader when he scored 27 points in Tuesday night’s 79-70 Tri Valley League win at Holland Patent.

 

Opposing coach Jon Snyder of Holland Patent showed a lot of class, too, when he used a full timeout to stop the game in the third quarter to pay special tribute to Moore and his record-breaking accomplishment. Snyder later presented Moore with the game ball.

 

“I didn’t want to make a huge production out of it, but rarely do we have this opportunity to note something like this,” Snyder said after the game. “Pat’s a great kid and a tough competitor. I just wanted to recognize that.”

 

What Pat Moore has done at Notre Dame, no doubt, deserves to be recognized. So does Snyder’s class act. In a close game, on a night when Class C Holland Patent has a shot at upsetting state-ranked, Class A power Notre Dame, he did the right thing.

 

For that, Jon Snyder should be commended.

 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Moshier: Preaster gets collegiate shot

He is probably the most gifted athlete I have had the pleasure of watching in over 30 years of covering high school sports, and now former Thomas R. Proctor High School star Deandre Preaster is making a comeback.

 

Here’s to hoping his comeback is complete.

 

The 6-foot-3 Preaster, a two-sport standout at Proctor as a football receiver and basketball forward, failed to make the grade academically after accepting a football scholarship offer from Syracuse University. Now, he is playing college basketball in his hometown for Mohawk Valley Community College’s Hawks.

 

There are many around here, myself included, who firmly believe this softspoken, humble-almost-to-a-fault, young man can play college basketball at the Division I level. Yes, he is only 6-foot-3, and he’s not a slick ball handler or long-range bomber. But he’s a quick leaper with great hands and a high basketball IQ, and if he can make it academically at MVCC do not be surprised if some day, some where, Utica’s Deandre Preaster is a Division I basketball player.

 

For his sake, and ours (treat yourself and catch one of his games), I hope so.

 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Moshier: Winning by 135 points shameful

Many, many years ago, I was the senior captain of a high school boys basketball team that almost always lost, too many times by very large margins. I know what it feels like.

 

Those lopsided losses were bad enough, but that senior season would have been worse if not for opposing coaches like the late Dick White of Cooperstown and New York Mills legend Mike Tomassetti. Fortunately for us, they showed some class and called off the dogs.

 

Greg Wise didn’t, and he wasn’t offering up any apologies after his Yates High School boys basketball team set a Texas scoring record while embarrassing Lee High School 170-35.

 

Instead, Wise spoke of his defending state championship team – ranked No. 2 in the nation by MaxPreps and No. 5 by ESPN – being “on the national stage.” Maybe that’s at the root of this evil. Do we really need national rankings for high school basketball teams? And if so, should Wise and his team really be rewarded for its (or his) wrongdoing?

 

Yates, now 14-0 and riding a 39-game winning streak, was leading 100-12 at halftime. Those 100 first-half points, a state record and the second-most ever scored in a boys game, and that 88-point lead apparently weren’t enough. Yates played all 15 players, but reportedly continued to press in the second half.

 

It’s no wonder Lee coach Jacques Armant thought his team was “disrespected.” It’s a wonder he didn’t throw in the towel and pull his team off the court in a second half that was marred by a third-quarter fight.

 

Wise said his team is trying to win another state championship, and he told the Houston Chronicle “we can’t get that unless we are continuing to get better and perfect our game.”

 

But what good can come from a 135-point win? For all the wrong reasons, it should keep Wise and Yates on the “national stage.” Let’s hope so.

 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Moshier: Giant letdown inexcusable

For the record, this was not a losing season for New York’s football Giants. Just a lost cause.

 

“There are 8-8 seasons and there are 8-8 seasons,” president and chief executive John Mara said this past week, long after his Giants (and mine) had inexplicably rolled over and played dead when their playoff lives depended on it, “but this one felt more like 2-14 to me.”

 

Make that 1-12-1. That was the Giants’ record back in 1966, when I was nine years old and my favorite team was recording only two winning seasons in a particularly dreadful 17-year stretch from 1964-80. The 1966 Giants lost their last eight games – including a 72-41 loss to a Redskins team they had beaten 13-10 earlier in the season – and they allowed 501 points, a franchise record that still stands.

 

The only reason why I know that is because this year’s Giants gave up 427 points, the second-most in franchise history. They were outscored 85-16 in their last two games, losing 41-9 to Carolina’s Panthers (who had nothing to play for) in their final game at Giants Stadium, a game they needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. And they played like there was no tomorrow in last week’s embarrassing 44-7 loss at Minnesota.

 

OK, so going 8-8 means the Giants now have put together five consecutive seasons of .500 or better football, something they haven’t done since 1954-63. So what? I didn’t expect much from that 1966 team that finished 1-12-1, not with Allie Sherman doing the coaching, not with former Cortland High and Cornell University star Gary Wood and an aging Earl Morrall splitting time at quarterback, not when fullback Chuck Mercein is your leading rusher (327 yards). At least that team had a Pro Bowler (Spider Lockhart) in the secondary.

 

But this year’s Giants were 5-0, and two wins over the Cowboys and a blowout at Washington gave them a fighting chance. When push came to shove, though, they didn’t put up a fight. That’s what made this year’s 8-8 feel more like 1-12-1.