March 20, 2013 —
LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — March is that bizarre mixture of lashing winds, snow and ice of a winter that doggedly tries to maintain an authoritative presence, interspersed with wafting glimpses of the spring to come. In sports it’s the same mélange: banner headlines of high school and college basketball postseason title quests coexist with more muted stories about imminent baseball, softball, track and golf that augur warmer days to come. While the NCAA men’s and women’s March Madness Basketball Tournaments are about to captivate the national audience right through Major League Baseball’s opening day, locally the hardwood story came to an end with the Sullivan County Generals taking sixth place in the NJCAA Division III tourney behind a 79-72 opening night loss to Herkimer CC, an 85-68 win over the Rochester Yellow Jackets and an 83-74 loss to the Caldwell Cobras.
In high school hoops the Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats made it back to the semifinals for the second straight year but fell to Section III’s undefeated Oriskany 49-31. Mea culpa, somehow in my zeal to project toward spring last week, I neglected to include Manor or the Pine Plains boys as part of the remaining Section IX contingent along with Burke. Pine Plains, the number-one ranked Class C team in the state, fell to Section II’s Lake George 65-45 in the finals at Glens Falls. Burke defeated Section VIII Amityville 68-50 in the semifinal and faced Buffalo’s McKinley for the state’s Class A Holy Grail.
Meanwhile Sullivan West held its winter sports awards night on March 13 to laud its exceptional athletes from the now concluded season. The boys indoor track team was accorded NYSPHSAA Scholar Athlete status with their cumulative GPA of 90% or better. Drew Billard and Mitch Paciga received kudos for their fine finishes at states in alpine skiing and indoor track respectively.