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December 10, 2016
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Mecca beckons

Photo by Nick Piatek, Livingston Manor’s Troy Correa rises up for two of his 40 points in the epic quarterfinal win.

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Good things do come in small packages. Class D Livingston Manor, which is tiny compared to the usual larger school headline grabbers in Section 9, now looms huge as its boys and girls basketball teams head to their respective state Final Fours. This unforeseen and unprecedented fairy tale follows a week of regional success that quickly overshadowed the exuberance of the recent Section 9 title victories.

Just a week after reveling in its first-ever boys basketball sectional title and the end of a 12-year girls drought, the party continues apace behind regional game victories that propelled both the boys and girls to the Elysium fields of the state Final Four.

The boys’ 86-54 win over Section 1 Greenburgh Academy at the Westchester Center provided the first quaff of the uplifting tonic. Troy Correa led the way with 31 points, while Mike Mills, Kenny Fisk and Josh Janik chimed in with 17, 16 and 10 respectively. Greenburgh’s players, who had snickered when the country hicks from somewhere upstate entered the gym, were quickly reminded that great basketball has more to do with heart and skill than geography. Next up was Section 11 Bridgehampton in the quarterfinals held at SUNY New Paltz on March 10. Bridgehampton was state champion from 1996-1998. One of those teams ousted a talented Narrowsburg squad led by then standout Harold Shaw in a regional clash. But that was then. Trailing by two at the half, Manor exploded behind the ethereal play of Correa to lash Bridgehampton 69-53 and to earn a trip to the Mecca of high school basketball, the Glens Falls Civic Center. On March 16 at 11:45 a.m., they will bring their 16-5 moxie to face Section 10 Madrid-Waddington (23-3) in the state semifinals. The winner will play either Section 5 Batavia Notre Dame or Section 3 Sackett’s Harbor for the state championship. Correa’s 40-point avalanche was fueled by Manor’s lightning speed transition game, which has thus far proven to be unstoppable. Correa had 16 points in the third quarter, which equaled Bridgehampton’s tally for the period. He’d go on to score 14 of Livingston Manor’s 18 points in that deciding third-quarter run. Years of reporting from the state championships with this writer’s “LIVE from Glens Falls” narratives have sought to bring a virtual experience to the legions of local fans who have never been to the storied arena. This week, many of them will learn what it’s like first hand.

For the girls team, which never made it out of the first round of state play during its three-year run from 1996-1999, a first-round bye propelled them to a quarterfinal clash with Section 11 Shelter Island at Farmingdale State University on March 10. The 13-5 Lady Wildcats downed Shelter Island 58-31 to advance to the state semifinals to take on Section 2 Argyle (21-3) on March 17 at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy at 10:45 a.m. Maggi Calo’s four first-half three pointers provided the initial spark for Manor, along with Monay Allen’s 12 steals in the game and Samantha Scott’s 16 points. A Calo three tied the game at 10 at the end of the first quarter before the Lady Wildcats went on a 20-5 tear in the second stanza.

For Manor, which just last spring brought home state championships in softball and baseball, this basketball season has added enormous pride and joy to the little school on the banks of the Willowemoc. Stay tuned as the story continues.

National treasures

At the New Balance Indoor Track Nationals held at the Armory this past weekend, Eldred’s Alex Campanella (4:21.26) was seventh in the mile in the emerging elite category. Teammate Hunter Proscia (9:46.50) finished 31st in the two mile, while Tri-Valley’s Jimmy Bernstein (9:52.63) was 40th.. Sullivan West’s Todd Roeder (49-0.75) was 21st in the weight throw, while Rachel Deppa (8:27.31) was 27th in the one-mile racewalk. Tri-Valley’s Dominique Darby (47-3) was 16th in the weight throw. Former Tri-Valley grad Ryan Loughney, a senior at Ashland University, won his second consecutive Division II National title in the weight throw with a mighty heave of 72-10 on his last attempt. Loughney moves on to compete in the hammer, with an eye on the Olympic trials this June.

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